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Military destroys 44 illegal refineries, apprehends 29 suspects in 2 weeks

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The Defence Headquarters said the troops of Operation Delta Safe and other subsidiary operations discovered and destroyed 44 illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta region in two weeks.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, made this known at a bid-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.

Danmadami said the troops also apprehended 29 suspected oil thieves in land, maritime and air operations at creeks, villages, communities, waterways, cities and towns within Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers States.

He said the troops in the conduct of Operation ‘Octopus Grip’ discovered and destroyed 32 wooden boats, 73 storage tanks, 129 cooking ovens and 40 dugout pits.

He said the troops also recovered 512,000 litres of stolen crude oil, 114,500 litres of illegally refined AGO, 1,000 liters of PMS, 40 vehicles, three motorcycles, three generators and five pumping machines.

“Troops also arrested 29 criminal elements and recovered 104 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

“Notably, on Nov. 7, it conducted air interdiction at Abacheke, an identified illegal refining site where significant human activities were confirmed.

“Consequently, the target was engaged and destroyed while air strike led to an inferno that lasted for almost 24 hours,” he said.

In the South East, Danmadami said the military in conjunction with other security agencies had continued to curb the activities of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network criminals.

He said the troops eliminated no fewer than 13 IPOB/ESN criminals and recovered arms and other items such as voter registration capturing machine of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Within the week in focus, troops neutralised 13 IPOB/ESN criminals, arrested six including their herbalist.

“Troops equally recovered eight AK47 rifles, seven pump action guns, three locally made pistols, one sniper rifle, 15 rounds of 7.62mm special, 13 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, eight rounds of 9mm ammunition and five cartridges.

“Other items recovered are three pairs of combat boots, two pairs of camouflage uniforms and two camouflage jungle hats.

“Also recovered are two CCTV cameras, one INEC image capturing machine, one INEC box, two walkie talkies, transistor radio, three solar panels, motorcycles, vehicles among other items.

“All apprehended criminals and recovered items were handed over to the appropriate authority for further action,” he said.

In South West, Danmadami said the troops of operation AWATSE in the conduct of operation ‘Swift Response’ recovered 865 bags of 50kg foreign rice, and 505 (30ltrs) jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit.

He said that all recovered items were handed over to the Nigerian Custom Services in Ogun and Lagos States for further action.

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Sumaila Ogbaje

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