No fewer than 173 terrorists and oil thieves have been arrested by troops of the Nigerian military in the last two weeks, the Defence Headquarters said on Thursday.
Troops also uncovered and destroyed several illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta region and recovered N765.8 million worth of stolen petroleum products within the period.
Edward Buba, a major general and director of defence media operations, made this known in Abuja while giving a breakdown of troops’ operational activities.
Troops discovered and destroyed 71 dugout pits, 36 boats, 83 storage tanks, 5 vehicles, 4 motorcycles, 58 cooking ovens, 5 pumping machines, 3 generators, 3 speedboats and 34 illegal refining sites. Troops recovered 569,400 litres of stolen crude oil, 486,000 litres of illegally refined diesel and 59,500 litres of petrol. Troops also arrested 16 suspected oil thieves.
“The air component conducted air interdictions over active illegal refining sites at Abisse and Idama. The targets were engaged with cannons and rockets destroyed the equipment and reservoirs. Additionally, an air component destroyed a boat fully loaded with illegally refined products sighted within the gen area. The boat was attacked with rockets”, he added.
Buba further said troops rescued a total of 109 kidnapped hostages and recovered 55 assorted weapons and 96 assorted ammunition within the period.
He assured that the military will continue to pursue aggressive military operations against violent extremist groups seeking to undermine the security of the country and conduct violence against the people.