Soldiers destroy 40 illegal refineries in Niger Delta, arrest 20 oil thieves, in 2 weeks

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From Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that soldiers on internal security operations in the Niger Delta region have uncovered and destroyed over 40 illegal refineries in the last two weeks. The DHQ, also said that the soldiers discovered and destroyed,165 metal storage tanks, 72 ovens, 23 dug out pits, 5wooden boats and recovered over one million litres of stolen crude. It also recovered five hundred thousand litres of AGO, 6,250, litres of PMS, 6 trucks, 3 outbound engines, 1 AK-47 rifle and arrested 21 criminal oil thieves in the last two weeks.

Director Defence Media Operations(DMO), Major General Bernard Onyeuko, who made this known, said all the recovered items and the suspects have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.

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Onyeuko, at a media briefing on update of military, Police and other security agencies operations conducted across the country between May 19-June 2, said the ongoing counter insurgency operations in the North East have killed several terrorists and recovered large caches of weapons during a clearance operation in some villages in Borno State. He said the terrorists who could not withstand the firepower of the soldiers abandoned their logistics and some family members numbering over one hundred were recovered by troops during the encounter.

Gen Onyeuko, while noting that the military has trained a total of 122 local vigilantes in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State to assist the security agencies forestal law and order of hinterland communities, said that within the period under review, military operations have recorded tremendous successes, while the security situation across the six geo-political zones of the country remains dynamic.

Gen Onyeuko gave an update on military operations conducted between May 19-June 2;

OPERATION HADIN KAI

1. On 22 May 2022 troops in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force at Amdaga, Balazola, Ndakaine, Jango, Sabah and Gobara in Gwozaq Local Government Area of Borno State cleared terrorists hideout during the encounter, the terrorists fled in disarray due to the superior firepower of own troops abandoning their properties and family members. Also, on 23 May 2022, troops conducted a patrol along Old Marter road in Marte Local Government Area of Borno State and recovered a dump truck vehicle belonging to Borno State Road Maintenance Agency that was stolen in February 2021 by the terrorists.

2. Similarly, troops on fighting patrol along Ashigashiya, Kodele, and Apagaluwa in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State encountered terrorists herders who engaged troops in a fierce gun battle, the terrorists fled due to troops superior fire power while troops recovered 40 sheep during exploitation. Within the weeks under review troops also conducted robust, aggressive patrol, ambushes and clearance operations in Zuyel-Wuno area along Shelmi Mountain, Dugushewu village, Gwoza, Limankare Old Marte, Sabah, Kancorner, Gamboru Wulgo road, Charaman, Pulka-Kwadale road, Mairamri Tumbun Rago, Tumbum Dilla and Jamina, Kawuri Sibiri, Kuwaiti, Miya village all in Borno State.

3. Furthermore, on 31 May 2022, troops repelled attack by terrorists at Firm Base Arege in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State. during the attack troops responded with superior firepower and inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists while others fled in disarray. Cumulatively, troops recovered 10 AK 47 rifles, 5 AK 56 rifles, 2 FN rifles, 227 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 7 AK 47 magazines, 1 PKM gun. 1 AA gun, 164 rounds of AA ammunition, 111 Shilka ammunition, 1 gun truck, 1 shilka barrel, 2 dane guns, 2 Improvised Explosive Device, 1 car engine, 4trollies and one water pump machine. Troops also rescued 100 terrorists’ family members which included 33 women. Troops also neutralized 14 terrorists and arrested 15. Accordingly, all arrested, rescued terrorist families and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.

OPERATION SAFE HAVEN

3. As part of its non-kinetic measures towards ensuring security of lives and property in the troubled parts of Kaduna State, the Theatre Command on 21 May 2022 graduated 122 local vigilantes trained to assist the security agencies to ensure the security of hinterland communities in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State. He charged the trained vigilantes to be good ambassadors of their communities and discharge their duties effectively devoid of sentiment; he stressed the need to imbibe the tenets of equality, fairness and neutrality in discharging their duties. present at the occasion were the representatives of the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, the Chairman Sanga Local Government Area, traditional rulers, amongst others.

4. Furthermore, the Commander held peace meetings at the Headquarters of Operation SAFE HAVEN with Bemood Fulani Stakeholders in order to sustain peace in the area. The meeting was centred on the killing and rustling of cattle at Kuru area in Jos Souh Local Government Area of Plateau State, he urged the herders to be patient as efforts are ongoing to recover the rustled cows. In attendance were the Chairman Riyom Local Government Area, Member representing Riyom in the State House of Assembly, Miyetti Allah members and other community leaders from Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.

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OPERATION HADARIN DAJI

5. Troops in Operation HADARIN DAJI theater of operations sustained aggressive and clearance operations to deny terrorist and other criminal elements further freedom of action. On 22 May 2022, following credible information about terrorists heading towards Dampo village in Bakura Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Troops mobilized and laid in wait at bandit crossing point, gun battle ensued between the bandits and own troops, and bandits fled in disarray due to superior firepower following the attack troops recovered 292 cattle and 1 camel. Also, on 21 May 2022, following credible intelligence report, troops arrested a notorious foreigner Jabe Buba a terrorist informant at Garuwa village in Tambuwa Local Government Area of Sokoto State. pictures and video of him posting rifles in the forest were found on his phone and cash of One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira (N130,000.00) was recovered from him.

6. Troops also conducted operational activities in Maidabino, Mahuta, Yantamaki, Mahuta Makal village in Dan Musa Local Government Area, Batsari Jibia road-Jibia road in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State. Other locations include Kaura Namoda-Shinkafi road, Anka Market in Magaza town in Zamfara State and Kaikaza village in Sokoto State respectively. Consequently, within the weeks under review troops recovered 9 AK 47 rifles, 100 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 458 rustled cattle 20 motorcycles, troops also rescued 152 civilians, neutralized 18 bandits and apprehended 25 bandits. Accordingly, all arrested, rescued civilians and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.

OPERATION WHIRL STROKE

7. The troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE conducted several operations within the period under review. On 24 May responded to a distress call on kidnapping incident along Road Zakibia-Ugba, own troops made contact with the criminals. After a gun battle, the leader of the group one Mr Odada and 2others the kidnappers who were all dressed in military uniform were neutralized. The victim one Mr Chimaobi Omemma a businessman was rescued, items recovered include 1 AK 47 rifle, 3 fully loaded magazines (90 rounds of 7.62mm special), 1 Toyota Corolla vehicle and an ATM card bearing Felix Terzenqwe. All recovered items are still in custody. Similarly, on 29 May 2022 a distress call was received of a bandit terrorizing local at Bowa in Doma Local Government Area of Nassarawa State. After a hot pursuit one Mr Adamu Akure was captured at Ijiwo junction in Rukubu. Items recovered include 1 locally made pistol, several cartridge amongst others. The arrested criminal is presently under interrogations. Also, a notorious gun runner Mr Morris Ayitu was arrested after a raid at his residence in Abirisi in Guma Local Government Area also arrested are his wife and an accomplice Mr Julius Aseni.

OPERATION OCTOPUS GRIP

8. Troops in Operations OCTOPUS GRIP theatre of operation has sustained pressure on economic saboteurs and other criminal elements which has significantly reduce the oil thieves freedom of action. Operation OCTOPUS GRIP in conjunction with Operation DELTA SAFE conducted operational activities in creeks, towns and communities in locations such as Mosogar, Jesse, Warri Road in Eihiope West Local Government Area, Banga, Modangho creek in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. Other locations are Okubotowa creek in Akassa Brass Local Government Area, Ikebiri Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Other areas include Gawthrone channel in Bonny Local Government Area of River State, Akpabiyo Local Government Area in Cross River State and Effiat water ways Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State.

9. Cumulatively, within the period under review, troops discovered and destroyed 40 illegal refineries, 165 metal storage tanks, 72 ovens, 23 dug out pits, 5 wooden boats, Also, recovered are One MillionOne Hundred and Seven Thousand Four Hundred (1,107,400) litres of crude oil, Four Hundred and Fifty Six Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty (456,450) litres of AGO, Six Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty (6,250) litres of PMS, 6 trucks, 3 outbound engines, 1 AK 47 rifles, troops also apprehended 21 criminal elements. All recovered items and apprehended criminals were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.

9. Gentlemen of the press, let me use this medium to commend the support of the media for your professionalism in carrying out your task, objective and unbiased in your reportage. I wish to state that National Security is a collective responsibility to every Nigerian. To the general public, we thank you as always for your support. We must ensure united peaceful and prosperous nation which will be a source of pride to us all.

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