Oil Theft/Vandalism: Troops Immobilize 145 Illegal Refining Sites; Recover 29. 4 million liters of stolen AGO, PMS & Crude Oil; Arrest 912 Criminal elements in N-Delta

Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabot

The Military in pursuance of its mandate to rid criminal elements and deny them freedom of action across the country including decimation of crude oil thieves and pipeline vandals, uncovered and immobilized a cumulative total of 145 illegal refining sites between March 2021 and the first week of January 2022 in the Niger Delta region.

Troops also desstroyed, 209 ovens, 122 cooking pots/boilers, 161 cooling systems, 224 reservoirs, 160 large dugout pits and 367 storage tanks within the same period.

“Consequently, a total of Twelve million, eight hundred and forty-six thousand, three hundred (12,846,300) liters’ of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil as well as 29,237 barrels and six million, four hundred and ninety-one thousand (6,491,000) liters of stolen crude oil were recovered’.

Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko who made this known during a briefing of military operations in Abuja, disclosed that a total of three million, nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand (3,969,000) liters’ of Dual Purpose Kerosene; Ten million, two hundred thousand, five hundred (10,200,500) liters’ of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit were recovered by troops

He said, “In Operation Delta Safe, troops made a cumulative total recoveries of thirteen million, two hundred and one thousand, three hundred (13,201,300) liters’ of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil and three million, nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand (3,969,000) liters’ of Dual Purpose Kerosene.

‘Also, 38,582 barrels and six million, four hundred and ninety-one thousand (6,491,000) liters’ of stolen crude oil as well as eleven million, six hundred and fifty-nine thousand, five hundred (11,659,500) liters’ of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit were recovered and handed appropriately.

“Additionally, a total of 912 criminal elements were arrested, while large cache of arms and ammunition as well as livestock among other items of economic and security concerns were recovered by the troops during the period.

“Additionally, troops recovered 33 assorted arms; 5,268 rounds of different calibers of ammunition and 21 AK-47 rifle magazines, while 3,110 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice, 662 pieces of galvanized pipes, 32 tanker trucks and 119 wooden boats used for illegal oil bunkering activities were impounded and handled appropriately in the course of the operations.

“Also, a total of 41 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 77 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. All the arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.

“Troops of Operation Awatse in the South West, in the fight against pipeline vandals and economic saboteurs successfully impounded a total of 1,458,600 liters’ of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit; 9,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 355,000 liters’ illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil.

“Additionally, troops recovered a total of 1,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles. Also, within the period, a total of 15 illegal refining sites were immobilized, while 12 boats and 13 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested. In the same vein, within the period 15 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while 28 criminal elements were arrested.

In the war against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping, Major General Onyeuko said, “Troops neutralized a total 1,910 terrorists, armed bandits and robbers as well as kidnappers across the Country between March 2021 and the first week of January 2022. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes within the period. Troops also rescued a total of 729 kidnapped victims across the Country.

He said a total of 24,059 terrorists and their families comprising 5,326 adult males, 7,550 adult females and 11,183 children have so far surrendered to own troops in the North East adding that all surrendered elements have been properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.

“Within the period, troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralized a total of 950 terrorists including their high profile Commanders and Amirs. Also, a total of 79 terrorists were arrested and 113 kidnapped civilians were rescued by the troops during encounters.

“In the same vein, a total of 195 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles, GPMGs, PKT guns and locally fabricated guns were recovered from terrorist elements in the course of the operations. In addition, a total of 2,385 rounds of different calibers of ammunition and 253 rustled livestock were recovered.

“A total of 14 gun trucks of the terrorists were destroyed in the course of the operations, while 16 gun trucks were captured by own troops.

“Furthermore, a total of 24,059 terrorists and their families comprising 5,326 adult males, 7,550 adult females and 11,183 children have so far surrendered to own troops in the North East. All surrendered elements have been properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions”.

Throwing more light on the operations, he said, “​In Operation Hadarin Daji, a total of 537 armed bandits and other criminal elements were neutralized in action by own troops, while 374 criminal elements including armed bandits and their collaborators as well as armed herdsman and robbers were arrested.

“Furthermore, 227 assorted arms, including AK-47 rifles, PKT machine guns and GPMGs as well as 4,443 rounds of different calibers of ammunition and 3,250 rustled livestock among other items and vehicles were recovered within the period. Similarly, a total of 238 motorcycles and 118 extra rifle magazines were recovered, while 452 kidnapped civilians were rescued by own troops in the course of the operations.

“This is in addition to several other feats recorded during air offensives executed on bandits’ enclaves by the Air Component. Recent among prominent air offensives were concurrent air strikes executed on bandits’ enclaves at Gusami Forest and West Tsamre village in Birnin Magaji LGA of Zamfara State, which led to the neutralization of scores of armed bandits.

“The feats were recorded in the early hours of 3 January 2022 on the heels of credible intelligence, which revealed the locations of 2 key bandits’ leaders, the notorious Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga. Consequently, a force package of NAF platforms were dispatched to takeout the enclaves, which resulted in the neutralization of the leaders as well as their cohorts.

“In addition, several other armed bandits fleeing from the hit of the air strikes, were killed during follow up strikes. No fewer than 100 armed bandits were neutralized in the encounter.

“​Troops of Operation Safe Haven within the period recorded attendant successes in their kinetic operations within the North Central Zone leading to the arrest of a total of 1,771 criminal elements including armed bandits, armed herdsmen and livestock rustlers; while 109 armed bandits and other criminal elements were neutralized in action.

“ Also, in the course of the operations, a total of 75 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while 1,306 livestock, 108 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles and locally produced guns as well as 493 rounds of different calibers of ammunition among other items were recovered in the course of the operations.

“ Moreover, troops carried out various non-kinetic activities in different locations of the theatre to contain security challenges in its area of responsibility. Some of these include; organized peace and security meetings with critical security stakeholders to discuss and proffer actionable solutions to security concerns as well as organized sporting activities for youths, in other to dissuade them from criminal activities, with consolation prizes.

“Between 20 May 2021 and 6 January 2022, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke operational activities cumulatively resulted in the neutralization of a total of 168 criminal elements, while 127 of them, including migrant armed bandits were arrested.

“Also, 118 different types of arms and 381 different calibers of ammunitions as well as 391 livestock were recovered, while 33 kidnapped civilians were rescued within the period under review.

“In addition, Operation Whirl Stroke within the period, held peace and security meetings with community and youth leaders as well as other security agencies and other critical stakeholders as non-kinetic means of tackling insecurity challenges in the its area of responsibility. These meetings were geared towards finding lasting solutions to the security challenges in the North Central Zone”.

“Within the Operation Thunder Strike/Whirl Punch, theatre, troops engaged in various kinetic operations which cumulatively resulted in the neutralization of 44 and arrest of 46 criminal elements.

“Troops operations also led to the recovery of 59 assorted arms, 12 extra AK-47 rifles magazines, 113 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 16 motorcycles among other items in the course of the operations. Additionally, a total of 14 kidnapped civilians were rescued and reunited with their families within the period under review.

“Gleaning from the available information, there is no gain saying that our operational performance for the year 2021 shows our commitment to ensure peace is restored in the Country. It shows the synergy between the Nigerian military and other Security Agencies is succeeding in tackling the security challenges facing the Country.

“We will continue to sustain the offensive and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria. The general public is also assured of our commitment to protect lives and properties as well as our economic assets anywhere, with renewed vigour this year.

“The High Command of the Nigerian Military continues to thank the general public and members of the media for their support and further solicit everyone’s cooperation towards providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements in our operations.

“The Military High Command also commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the Country for their resilience, doggedness and commitment.Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in securing the Country.”

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