• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Military foils oil theft worth over N20bn in three months

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has revealed that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE thwarted illegal activities amounting to over twenty billion naira in three months, during crackdowns on oil theft operations.

This was announced by Edward Buba, Director of Defence Media Operations, during a press briefing held on Thursday in Abuja, shedding light on the ongoing military operations from January to March 2024.

Buba said that the relentless efforts of troops led to the destruction of numerous illegal refining sites and the recovery of stolen products amounting to N20,331,713,910.00 in three months operations.

“Throughout the operation, troops conducted offensive maneuvers across various regions, including Southern Ijaw and Akpabuyo LGAs of Bayelsa and Cross River States, as well as Ughelli South and North LGAs of Delta State”, he stated.

Among the items recovered were 565,200 litres of stolen crude oil, 22,500 litres of illegally refined AGO, 1,050 litres of DPK, and 8,000 litres of PMS.

He further stated that troops discovered and demolished 6 dugout pits, seized 33 boats, and dismantled 18 storage tanks.

“The operation also led to the confiscation of 25 cooking ovens, 3 vehicles, and the closure of 16 illegal refining sites”, he noted.

According to Buba, bolstering their success, troops conducted offensive operations in targeted areas, resulting in the arrest of 7 suspects and the rescue of a kidnapped hostages.

During these operations, a cache of weapons and ammunition was seized, including 2 dane guns, one fabricated pistol, 69 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, and 200 cartridges concealed in a bacco bag beneath a demolished structure.

In total, the operation saw the apprehension of 25 suspected oil thieves and violent extremists, with 10 weapons and 269 assorted ammunition recovered.

“The significant strides made by Operation DELTA SAFE underscored the military’s unwavering commitment to curbing illicit activities and safeguarding vital national resources”, he stated.

In a related development, the DHQ said that it eliminated 2,300 terrorists and more than 2,300 persons were arrested in the first quarter of 2024.

Buba highlighted the military’s strategy of collecting intelligence, hunting down terrorists, and disrupting their activities.

He specifically mentioned the elimination of high-profile terrorist commanders, including and not limited to Abu Bilal Minuki (aka Abubakar Mainok) – Head of Is-Al Furqan Province (ISGS and ISWAP) and Haruna Isiya Boderi. “He was a notorious terrorists who operated along Birnin Gwari Forest in Kaduna State as well as the Abuja Kaduna Highway. He was killed by troops in 21 Feb 24”, Bubba stated.

“Others are : Kachallah Damina, neutralised in March 24, by troops. He was neutralised alongside over 50 combatants, Kachallah Alhaji Dayi, Kachallah Idi (Namaidaro), Kachallah Kabiru (Doka), Kachallah Azarailu (Farin-Ruwa), Kachallah Balejo, Kachallah Ubangida, Alhaji Baldu among several others.

He attributed the successes to synchronized strikes between ground and air forces, with fighter jets conducting major bombarding raids on terrorist enclaves immediately upon acquiring vital targets.

Buba noted that troops also carried out ambushes, raids, and fighting patrols, resulting in the neutralization of over 2,300 terrorists, the arrest of thousands, and the rescue of kidnapped hostages.

In addition to neutralizing terrorists, troops recovered a substantial cache of weapons and ammunition, including over 1,400 AK47 rifles, 33,878 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 12,698 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 948 assorted arms and 5,520 assorted ammo..

In all, Buba disclosed that troops recovered 2,847 weapons, 58,492 ammunition.