The Military High Command disclosed on Thursday that Gallant Special Boat Service Forces of the Nigerian Navy deployed by the Nigerian Navy Ship, ‘Nguru’, on 15 May 2020, stormed a Chinese Vessel, ‘MV Hailufang II’ which had been hijacked by pirates off the Coast of Cote D’ Ivoire and rescued all the 18 crew members.
The rescue came after the Special Forces engaged the pirates in heavy gun battle in the sea during which 10 of the pirates were arrested and the vessel fully recovered.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche while giving details of the operation, said, “The pirates took control of the vessel and directed the vessel towards Nigerian Waters. The vessel had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians.
“The Nigerian Navy was alerted of the pirate attack and immediately, the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Nguru was dispatched to intercept the vessel.
“On interception of the vessel at about 140 nautical miles south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply with the orders of the Nigerian Navy Ship, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel (engage in combat).
“All the ship crews were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were also arrested.
Speaking on operational successes against economic sabotage and oil thievery, the Coordinator said, “Under operation Delta Safe Area of responsibility, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta conducted anti-illegal bunkering/Crude Oil Theft (COT) operations around Ugbodede, Uwakeno, Opumami, and Banga Communities and around Escravos general area in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
“During the operations, the team located and dismantled illegal refining sites and a wooden boat with 3 coolers, 136 dugout pits, 201 surface metal storage tanks and 174 ovens laden with about 14,434 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil as well as 1,385,000 liters of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
“The storage facilities were dismantled. No arrest was made as operators of the illegal refining sites fled on sighting the team. Meanwhile, the illegal refining sites have been earmarked for swamp buggy operation.
“Similarly, on 11 May 20, Forward Operating Base Escravos intercepted 3 large wooden boats around Madangho and Sara Creek in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
“The boats were laden with about 12.6barrels of suspected stolen crude oil and 43,000 liters of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
“Equally, on 12 May 20, the team discovered 7 refining units, 13 metal storage tanks and 4 dugout pits with about 440.3 barrels of stolen crude oil and 180,000 liters of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
“The boats, items and products discovered in the course of the operation were impounded.
“In the same vein, on 11 May 20, Forward Operating Base Ibaka patrol team around Effiat Waterways intercepted an abandoned wooden boat laden with 310 units of 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon.
“Similarly, on 14 May 20, the Base patrol team intercepted an abandoned medium size wooden boat laden with about 67 drums of products suspected to be PMS around Enwang Creek.
“The seized bags of foreign parboiled rice, boat and drums of suspected PMS are currently in Forward Operating Base Ibaka custody.
Regarding the war on terror, General Enenche said, “In Operation Lafiya Dole, several members of the Boko Haram Terrorists/ISWAP fighters and senior commanders were neutralized and their logistics facilities, gun trucks and other structures destroyed as well as recovery of weapons.
“These occurred in air strikes and other offensive operations executed across the theatre of operation. Twenty (20) BHT/ISWAP Terrorists were killed and 6 AK-47 rifles, 520 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and five 36 Hand Grenades were recovered.
“In Operation Hadarin Daji, the Air Component, neutralized 27 armed bandits and destroyed some of their dwellings along the Nahuta-Doumborou Corridor on the border between Katsina and Zamfara States in air strikes.
“While in Operation Whirl Stroke, raid operations on bandits’ hideouts in Benue and Nasarawa States led to neutralization of 2 bandits of the notorious Gana’s gang with others fleeing with various degrees of gunshot wounds, including the Gana.
“Seven members of Bassa militia were arrested in Kpelebewa Village in Nasarawa State. Items recovered in the operations include; 4 locally fabricated machine guns, 3dane-guns, 12 locally-made rifles, cartridge firing pistols and 2 locally fabricated cartridge guns.
“Others are; 4 revolver pistols, 2 cartridge pistols, 58 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 57 x 7.62mm Special Ammunition, 2 motorcycles, 2 camouflage, a generator set and a Bag of Gunpowder as well as assorted charms among others items.
“Bandits and militias neutralized within this period stands at 29.
On Covid 19 and the military’s preparedness, Enenche recalled that at the commencement of Armed Forces of Nigeria’s intervention in the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, it made available 21 medical facilities to be used as isolation and treatment Centre’s.
“Additionally, 80 medical personnel were concentrated in Abuja and trained on COVID-19 case Management/Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), who were thereafter deployed to different geo-political zones of the Country and the FCT.
“Due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, it was considered necessary to train additional personnel in selected Hospitals across the Armed Forces of Nigeria to boost the capacity of medical personnel in the management of COVID-19.
“The training package is a Train-the-Trainer, where the beneficiaries are expected to train other personnel at hospitals, related medical facilities and other places of deployment, to enhance capacity building in the management of the pandemic.
“Consequently, the Armed Forces of Nigeria COVID-19 case management/IPC training was conducted in 8 designated military Centre’s across the country, namely Headquarters 1 Division Kaduna, 6 Division Port Harcourt, 7 Division Maiduguri, 81 Division Lagos and Headquarters 82 Division Enugu. Others are Headquarters Eastern Naval Command Calabar, Headquarters Tactical Air Command Makurdi and Headquarters Guards Brigade Abuja.
“At the end of this training the total number will be 300 personnel.”
Commenting on application of Covid 19 protocols as it relates to terrorists, bandits and other criminals who surrender or are arrested, General Enenche said the military had been observing all the safety protocols.
“The moment any criminal or bandit is arrested or Boko Haram terrorists surrenders, they are immediately quarantined. In line with the Geneva Convention, after quarantine, based on their status, they are treated if found to be infected.
“On the side of our personnel, protective masks, sanitizers have been made available to troops and DICON is making them available as required”
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