The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, on Sunday said that it arrested eight suspected oil thieves and destroyed 17 illegal refineries in multiple raids.
A statement issued by Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, Media Coordination of JTF in Yenagoa, said the anti-oil theft raids were conducted from Feb. 11 to Feb. 18 and that several items were seized during the operation in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo.
He said that the JTF troops in Edo and Delta destroyed five illegal oil distillation sites and 40 boats and seized 300 metal tanks, 64 plastic storage tanks, 72 drums and 68 cooking ovens.
He added that four pumping machines and one Lister Generator were seized at Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta.
The spokesman said the troops also intercepted a locally made tug boat conveying 30 drums of stolen petroleum at Ajide on Benin River in Edo.
He said that six suspects were arrested during the operation and moved to the Tactical Headquarters of the Battalions for preliminary investigation.
In another development, Nwachukwu said JTF personnel patrolling the waterways and creeks on Soku-Ofumakiri, Bolo, Oloma and Isaka in Rivers, destroyed four illegal refineries.
He said 40 cooking ovens, 30 plastic storage tanks, 50 drums, one welding machine, two pumping machines and a 45 KVA generator were seized.
He said two suspects arrested in the operation were assisting investigators at the Sector 2 of the JTF in Port Harcourt.
“Our troops patrolling the waterways in Bayelsa have shutdown eight illegal crude oil distillation sites. The troops also destroyed six “cotonou” boats used by oil thieves in Tebidaba and Igbematoru communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
“The operatives also destroyed 69 metal drums and two pumping machines used by the oil thieves to operate their illegal refineries,” Nwachukwu said.
He said that the eight suspects would be handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies after preliminary investigations.