deactivate 51 illegal oil refining sites
By Kingsley Omonobi
The Defence headquarters, Thursday, said 13, 243 Boko Haram terrorists and their families have so far surrendered to troops of Operation Hadin Kai with a view to escaping the combined air and land assault of their hideouts and enclaves in the Sambisa forest and Lake Chad fringes.
It also said that troops of Operation Delta Safe, fighting economic saboteurs and oil theft in the Niger Delta discovered and deactivated 51 illegal refining sites, while 23 oil bunkerers were arrested within the last two weeks.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig Gen Bernard Onyeuko who made the disclosure in Abuja, said the surrendered terrorists comprise 3,243 adult males, 3,868 adult females and 6,234 children. He said: “A total of 29 terrorists were neutralised and 13 terrorists including their informants/collaborators and logistics suppliers were arrested in the course of the operations.
“Additionally, 38 assorted weapons and 968 rounds of assorted ammunition, as well as 48 rustled livestock among several other items, were recovered. The series of land and air operations conducted in different locations across the North East theatre have reduced the operational capabilities of the insurgents. Consequently, more terrorists have continued to lay down their arms and surrender to our troops with their families as they could no longer withstand the offensive operations within the theatre. Some of these feats were recorded at Gwoza-Yamtake-Bita road; Gwoza-Farm Centre-Yamtake road; Mandara Mountain area as well as Pulka and Hambagda towns; all in Borno State.
“Furthermore, the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai carried out air interdiction missions to foil BHT/ISWAP criminal elements’ attack on ground troops’ location at Aulari village in Bama LGA of Borno State. During the encounter, three of the terrorists’ gun trucks were destroyed together with their occupants and another was immobilised, while several other terrorists flee in disarray with varying degrees of wounds.
“The Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji sustained its offensive air operations against banditry and other criminal elements in the North West zone. Within the period in focus, using a force package of NAF platforms, multiple air strikes were executed on bandits’ enclaves in successive passes in different locations. One of which was at the Kwaga forest within Birni Gwari general area in Kaduna State.
“In the course of the operation, no fewer than 40 armed bandits were neutralised and several structures which served as their logistics bases were destroyed.”
Additionally, several of armed bandits were neutralised and their hideouts destroyed during air interdiction missions executed at some other locations including Meshema, Yanfako, Gebe and Gatawa forests in Isaa and Sabon Birni LGAs of Sokoto State as well as Ranch 10 in the Rugu forest area at the border of Kankara. The success of the air interdictions was confirmed by battle damage assessment carried out on these locations.”
On oil thieves arrested, he said: “Sites cumulatively had a total of 76 ovens, 52 cooking pots/boilers, 22 cooling systems, 102 reservoirs, 16 large dugout pits and 513 storage tanks as well as drums and sacks laden with illegally refined oil products.
“Additionally, 23 criminal elements were arrested and 73 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five cartridges, two AK-47 rifles, one double-barrel gun, one pump action gun and three locally-made pistols among other items were recovered in the course of the operations in the Zone.
“Consequently, a total of 317,450 litres of illegally refined AGO, 8,000 litres of DPK and 159,000 litres of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations. These were in addition to several other vehicles and boats loaded with sacks/polythene bags and jerry cans of illegally refined oil products and equipment used for illegal oil production as well as illicit drugs; impounded by troops within the period.
“Significant results were also recorded at different villages in Nembe and Ekeremor LGAs of Bayelsa State as well as Oron River and Calabar Metropolis in Cross River State. Also some incidents were recorded around some beaches in Akwa-Ibom State; some villages in Ohaji/Ogbema LGA of Imo State and Ukwa West LGA of Abia State.
“Similarly, successes were recorded in some communities and areas in Degema LGA, Port Harcourt City and environs; Akuku-Toru LGA and Bonny LGA of Rivers State. Furthermore, in Delta State, substantial results were recorded in Warri South, Warri South West and Ethiop North LGAs.”