Troops destroy 81 illegal refineries, arrest 81 oil thieves in N/Delta

By Sumaila Ogbaje

Nigerian troops fighting oil thieves in Niger Delta under the code name “Operation Delta Safe’’ have destroyed 81 illegal refining sites and arrested 81 oil thieves in the last two weeks.

They also destroyed 254 storage tanks, 173 cooking ovens, 118 dugout pits, and 36 wooden boats found at the sites.

Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, said these on Thursday in Abuja at the bi-weekly update on nationwide military operations.

He said the troops also arrested the 81 suspected oil thieves in different locations during the conduct of “Operation Octopus Grip’’.

The troops also recovered 1.06 litres of crude oil, 391,000 litres of diesel, 11 cars, six tankers, eight pumping machines and three motorcycles.

They also recovered two outboard engines, one tricycle, and five AK47 rifles loaded with 7.62mm special bullets.

Danmadami said the troops also raided a suspected gunmen enclave at Ebem Community in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River, arrested suspects and recovered arms and ammunition.

He added that in the Southeast, the military, in conjunction with other security agencies had continued to sanitise the region in the fight against the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN).

In the Southwest, troops of “Operation AWATSE’’ recovered 447 (50kg) bags of foreign rice, 125 jerry cans of 25 litres of petrol and one vehicle.

Danmadami also told newsmen that all recovered contraband items were handed over to the Nigerian Customs Service for further action.

(NAN)

OYS/ALLI

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