The Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, code named Operation Pulo Shield, yesterday, said three suspected pirates died during a cross-fire with the group at Robot creeks in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Lt. Col. Mustapha Anka, the JTF Media Coordinator, told NAN in Yenagoa that about 30 pirates, armed with AK-47 riffles in two speedboats, attacked the JTF patrol troop.
Anka said that in repelling the attack, a soldier in the patrol and two boat operators were injured.
He said the troops also raided and destroyed an illegal oil bunkering site at Okpoko Creek, in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, seizing nine Cotonou boats loaded with stolen crude oil.
Also impounded were seven speed boats loaded with 75 jerrycans containing illegally refined Automated Gas Oil, AGO, and five pumping machines.
The spokesman said that five suspects were arrested and are in custody of the command for preliminary investigation before being handed over to the prosecuting agency.
He said: “JTF troops deployed at Patrick Water Side and Opobo Creek in Rivers State, while on patrol, intercepted and destroyed a wooden boat filled with substance suspected to be stolen crude oil, at Bodo waterways.
“Also at Baragbene community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, troops destroyed four wooden boats filled with crude oil and illegally refined AGO. Two dumps were also destroyed alongside one Cotonou boat.
“The JTF troops deployed along Elele axis of Rivers State intercepted a truck loaded with unascertained volume of crude oil suspected to be stolen. The driver escaped on sighting the troops while the truck was towed to a safe place and set ablaze.
“Another vehicle was also intercepted along Sapele/Warri express road close to Okover community in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State conveying 85 jerrycans loaded with products suspected to be illegally refined AGO. The driver and other occupants fled on sighting troops, while the vehicle and the product were destroyed.”