BY Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—The Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, Thursday, said its operatives destroyed 32 illegal crude oil refining camps in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Government areas of Bayelsa State.
Spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement in Yenagoa, said the troops drawn from 343 Regiment and 5 Battalion of Sector 2 of the Task Force also destroyed five open wooden boats used by oil thieves in Lagosgbene, Sangana, Okigbene, Akamubugo, Forabagbene and Shigogbene communities in the said councils.
In a similar operation in Delta State, he said troops of 3 Battalion of Sector 1 of the JTF and NNS Delta (a maritime component of JTF) anti-oil theft patrol teams discovered and destroyed 29 illegal crude oil distillery camps.
According to him, 11 open boats used by oil thieves with 55 large steel surface tanks, 20 dug out pits, 10 plastic surface tanks filled with stolen crude oil and illegally distilled adulterated Automated Gas Oil, AGO, in Warri South West Local Government Area in Delta State were also destroyed.
Twenty of the illegal distillation camps, he noted were discovered in Olaye Payse near Warri, while nine illegal refineries and seven boats were uncovered and scuttled in Abudu, Asugbor, Ogbukoko, Obogungun, Escravos , Agedegben communities, all in Warri South council.
In Rivers State, he said “operatives of Anti-illegal oil Bunkering Squad of 146 Battalion of Sector 2 uncovered an illegal crude oil loading point, where oil thieves tapped into a pipeline belonging to the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company, PPMC in Greens/Gojiri community near Bonny Island.
“Two hoses siphoning oil into two giant open wooden boats (Cotonu boats) were recovered and the boats scuttled by the operatives.”
According to him, 29 suspects arrested during the anti-oil theft operations are currently undergoing preliminary investigations.