File photo: JTF destroying illegal refineries in Niger Delta communities.
DELTA has destroyed about 1500 illegal refineries with swamp buggy in the Delta creeks in the last two months.
The Commander of the ship, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, disclosed this to newsmen in Warri on Wednesday.
Swamp buggy is an amphibious vehicle used to traverse a swampy terrain.
Dewu said the destruction exercise was carried out in the creeks of Otumara, Ogbegugu, Okpuku in the Warri creeks.
He added that personnel of the command were currently on the Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area of the state in continuation of the exercise.
He said that the perpetrators had devised means of preventing the soldiers and the swamp buggy from gaining access to the sites by blocking the entrances with logs or setting fire around the sites.
The commander, however, said their antics would not deter the soldiers from carrying out their statutory obligation of completely eradicating illegalities in the maritime domain.
“It takes us time to remove the logs for our men and the swamp buggy to have access but we are determined,” he said.
He said the criminals’ activities were also contributing to the degradation of the ecosystem.
“The antics of the criminal elements will not deter us from eradicating the illegality with the aide of swamp buggy which I believe will bring a lasting solution to economic sabotage.
” We decided to apply swamp buggy because it is more environment friendly and difficult for the perpetrators to resuscitate the illicit business since their facilities are also crushed completely in the process.
“Apart from that, we also do post-monitoring of the various sites we have destroyed to ensure that the criminals do not return to reactivate them.
” So far, the exercise has been successful and we will not rest on our oars until the illegalities are completely eradicated in our maritime domain,” he said.
In one of the operations on Bennett Island on June 12, the perpetrators set fire around the vicinity of the illegal refinery to prevent the soldiers from entering.
The navy personnel then created alternative means for themselves, journalists and the swamp buggy to gain access and therefore, crushed the criminals’ equipment amid thick smoke and rain.
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