By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Troops of Sector 2 while on routine patrol at Nembe Owelesu, Bayelsa State, rescued 15 kidnapped victims, uncovered illegal refineries, including arms and stolen crude oil.
The military in a statement issued yesterday by Major General, John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, said the operation took place when the troops encountered sea robbers at Abuja Open Water-Nembe.
He added that the sea robbers on sighting the troop’s gunboats escaped into the creeks. “However, troops rescued 15 persons held hostage in 5 speed boats by the hoodlums.
“Similarly, on 23 April 2020, acting on a tip off, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder patrol team intercepted and arrested 3 Barges (MV Rock 1, Julianah and an unnamed barge) laden with illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at AGIP waterfront for suspected involvement in illegal bunkering activities. The Team also arrested another barge laden with suspected stolen crude oil around Okochiri River entrance.
“Also, troops of Sector 3, Operation DFLTA SAFE conducted raid on four Illegal refining sites along Dema Abby – Oputumbi – Nanabie – Promise Land – Otobie and Ogono general area. Items discovered and appropriately handled, include; 7 boilers, 9 storage tanks, 8 metal tanks, 1 dugout reservoir all filled with stolen crude oil, 8 metal tanks, 18 metal drums, 11 reservoir tanks filled with illegally refined AGO and Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK).
“Also, 2 empty Cotonou boats, 1 generator set, 1 pumping machine, 2 welding machines, 1 filing machine, rolls of hose, and 1 speedboat mounted with 75 HP engine (use for illegal bunkering activities) were also discovered within the sites.
“Additionally, troops of Sector 3 on patrol intercepted a barge laden with suspected illegally refined AGO around Orutoru general area of Rivers State. Relatedly, on 25 April 2020, following intelligence report, troops of Headquarters Operation DELTA SAFE discovered and appropriately handled an Illegal refining site at Uzere community at Ughelli North LGA of Delta State. Additionally, on 23 April 2020, troops of Sector 2 Operation DELTA SAFE deployed along KCTL pipeline at Odau Community in Abua/Odual LGA of Rivers State arrested 3 suspected pipeline vandals around Shell Petroleum Development Company pipeline.
“Overall, a total of 3 weapons were recovered, 48 illegal refineries, 28 surface metal storage tanks, 60 cooking ovens and 18 Cotonou boats amongst others were discovered while about 58,500 liters of DPK, 11, 750 liters of PMS, 855,900 liters of AGO and an estimated 1, 507,000 liters of crude oil were seized by troops.”
The statement said all rescued victims, recovered items and arrested suspects are to be handed over to the appropriate authorities at the end of preliminary investigation.