The Nigerian military says its troops operating in the Niger Delta region recovered over N1 billion worth of stolen crude and its products from oil thieves within the last two weeks.
The troops also uncovered and destroyed about 89 illegal refining sites and arrested 59 suspects within the period.
Edward Buba, a major general and director of defence media operations, who disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja, said the troops of Operation Delta Safe recovered about 1,205,950 litres of stolen crude oil, 452,910 litres of illegally refined diesel, 22,650 litres of petrol and 3,000 litres of kerosene. He said troops also destroyed 21 dugout pits, 56 boats, 138 storage tanks, 235 cooking ovens, six pumping machines, one outboard engine, and two speedboats.
“The air component of Operation Delta Safe conducted air interdiction over Bille and Ijawkiri, respectively. Active illegal refining sites were sighted and subsequently acquired. The location was attacked with rockets and cannons destroying equipment and reservoirs”, he added.
Speaking further, the director disclosed that the perpetrators of the terrorist and insurgency activities are using it as a guise for their personal gain through illegal mining and other unlawful activities. “For instance, the foot soldiers carry out the illegal mining from mining pits, while their sponsors are in the cities and town, moving around as normal citizens to dispose of the proceeds”, he said.
“The military is up to the challenge and will remain focused in the conduct of its operations in support of national security interests”, he assured.
According to him, the military is presently strategically deployed around the country and is working closely with other security agencies to fish out the perpetrators.
The director reiterated that the priority of military operations remains the protection of the citizens as well as villages, towns and cities from the senseless violence of terrorists and other violent extremist groups.
Buba said military operations across the country were yielding the desired result. In the southeast, he said that criminalities perpetrated by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) have been reduced to the barest minimum through the activities of troops of Operation Udo Ka in collaboration with other security agencies.