The Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the Niger Delta on Thursday continued its deployment of “Swamp Buggy” machines aimed at destroying illegal oil refineries in the region.
The JTF operations destroyed some illegal oil refineries at Dutch Island and Alakiri in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers.
Lt.-Col. Olusegun Oladuntoye, the Commanding Officer of 29 Battalion of the 2 Brigade of the Army, Port Harcourt, said the strategy would reduce the capability of oil thieves to revive illegal oil refineries.
He said that the “Swamp Buggy” machines, which completely crushed metal tanks, would discourage oil thieves from reviving refineries after they had been burnt.
“We have realised that whenever we burn down illegal refineries with metal tanks and some days after our troops leave the scene, the oil thieves would return and revive the refineries.
“So, the deployment of “Swamp Buggy” machines is in-line with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff’s transformation of the Army into a force better able to meet contemporary challenge,” he said
Oladuntoye said the vision was further reaffirmed by the General Officer Commanding 82 division, Maj.-Gen. Adebayo Olaniyi, while on operational tour of JTF formations in the region.
“Our experiences over the past two years have shown the need to adopt a new strategy that will enable us to effectively end oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“To achieve this bid, the Commander of the Army 2 Brigade, Brig.-Gen Osasogie Uzamere, ordered the deployment of the 29 Battalion to ensure complete destruction of illegal refineries.
“This operation will continue until we completely crush illegal refineries that have metallic tanks, thereby making it impossible for criminals to revive the refineries,” he said.
Oladuntoye said that in spite of the new approach, the task force would carry out constant air and ground surveillance of the creeks to ensure that new illegal refineries did not spring up