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Niger Delta: Nigerian Military destroys 436 illegal Refineries, Arrests 266 criminals

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..Frees 7 kidnapped oil workers

Godsgift Onyedinefu

The Joint Military Taskforce, JTF, code-named “Operation Delta Safe” said on Thursday that it had destroyed no fewer than 436 illegal refineries and arrested 266 persons for alleged various crimes in the Niger-Delta region.

Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim disclosed this while briefing journalists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital.

He said that  illegal refineries were destroyed in the operations carried out by Operation Delta safe(OPDS) from October to-date which was named: ”Operation 777.”

”The operation has helped in destroying about 436 illegal refineries, 609 boats, 1,507 surface tanks and 1,538 drums used for illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.”

“Operation Delta Safe arrested 266 persons for various crimes who have been handed over to appropriate government agencies for prosecution.” He said.

He also revealed that force has nabbed a suspected notorious militant kingpin, Gift Apollo aka ‘Thousand’ whose gang is responsible for the attack and death of soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma Creeks between Rivers and Bayelsa State.

He also disclosed that Nigerian Agip oil company maintenance workers kidnapped while carrying out an assessment of a blasted well head at Azuzuama LGA in Bayelsa were recovered and abductees released unharmed.

Agim further disclosed the kiling of five armed robbers who attacked Udy king  and the stolen money and some weapons recovered.

He said”It is gratifying to observe that significant achievement has been recorded by OPDS since the launch of Operation 777. For instance, anti-illegal bunkering /anti illegal refining operation was carried out in Okaki community in Bayelsa State which had become notorious for crude oil theft and illegal bunkering/refining activities along AGIP pipeline with huge success.

“The JOA, identified active militant camps at Okparakiri, Sanikiri,  Ke community, Elem Okporama and Olukirion were destroyed. On a tip-off, suspected sea robbers/cultists from Kelekele community terrorizing Abonnema- Buguma waterways were arrested. Infact, 4 suspected sea robbers enroute to other hideout in Kelekele creek were intercepted and arrested.

“They have given useful information that will help to rid the general area of criminal activities.

“Our troops deployed at Asaba arrested 2 suspected drug peddlers by name Nduka Ozigbondu and Mofi Ndibuisi along cable point Roundabout with large quantity of Indian hemp and other substances suspected to be hard drugs.

“Subsequently, the suspects and recovered items were handed over to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further action. Similarly, troops in conjunction with NDLEA personnel raided identified drug spots, in Alaka, Ajamogha and Ugbenbe general area. 16 suspects were arrested and substances suspected to be hard drugs (Cocaine and Marijuana) were found in their possession. The suspects and items were handed over to NDLEA officials for further action.

” 160 cultists led by Unyime Friday Ibanga also known as Englishman Overcomer from Island cultist group in Etim Ekpo LGA of Akwa Ibom State laid down their arms. Weapons recovered and put out of circulation would drastically reduce activities of criminals.

“On 22 Nov 2018, troops acting on tip off intercepted and arrested 12 people operating a wooden boat carrying 1,706 bags of foreign rice suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon at Mbo River, Mbo LGA of Akwa Ibom State were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service Akwa Ibom State Command for further action. In another development, troops deployed at Ibaka intercepted and arrested 2 wooden boats at Ebughu River in Mbo LGA with 4 and 5 crew each conveying 202 Fifty kilogram bags and 326 fifty kilogram bags of rice respectively suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon.

“Both the suspects and the rice were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service Comptroller General Strike Force in Akwa Ibom for further investigation and prosecution.

“On the whole, during the period under review, the following recoveries were made: 230 different types of arms, 240 assorted ammunitions, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines.

Others are ” 78 other boats, 13 tanker trucks, 51 other vehicles, 135 pumping machines and 34 generating sets.

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