The Bayelsa State Police Command on Tuesday paraded five suspects arrested by its operatives for alleged crude oil pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and economic sabotage.
The command’s spokesman, Asinim Butswat, who briefed journalists on their arrests, said the suspects were allegedly responsible for two recent incidents of pipeline vandalism in the Nembe Local Government Area of the state.
He gave the identities of the suspects as Sutomwa Martins, Ebiebere Paul, Christian Ayibatariworio, Owori Clarkson and Beregha Kingsley alias Kalaboy.
Butswat said, “You may recall that on 30th July 2022 at about 0200 hours, pipeline vandals blew up a Trunk line carrying crude oil from Omoku to Brass Terminal at Etiama, Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
“In a related attack, on 11th August 2022 at about 0100 hours, the same vandals with the aid of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), blew up a crude oil delivery Pipeline at Obama Tereke River. This line also supplies crude oil to Brass Terminal.
“Worried by these attacks, the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, CP Ben Nebolisa Okolo, fdc, charged the Command’s Tactical Teams to intensify efforts to arrest the perpetrators of these dastardly acts.”
According to him, the nabbing of Martins on August 6 at Agbura near Yenagoa, who had been on the wanted list of the command “for various offences such as kidnapping, sea piracy and pipeline vandalism”, led to the apprehension of the four others in a follow-up operation on August 12.
He said that the command’s operatives in collaboration with youths working for a private security outfit arrested the four others “after a fierce gun battle at their hideout in Nembe-Bassambiri.”
Butswat further said, “All the suspects have confessed to their involvement in the recent attacks on a crude oil delivery pipeline at Obama Tereke River and Trunk Line at Etiama, Nembe Local Government Area.”
He said the police command would continue to collaborate with other security agencies, community youths and relevant stakeholders to protect critical national infrastructure.
He added that the command would conclude its investigation soon and all the suspects would face charges.