The Nigerian Army says its troops in the Niger Delta code named, Operation Delta Safe have deactivated several illegal refining sites and recovered large volumes of refined petroleum products and crude oil in the last two weeks.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, disclosed this on Thursday while giving updates on the operations of the military across the country.
He said the troops conducted and recorded successes in series of anti-illegal oil operations in several areas in Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta during the period.
Onyeuko informed that a total of 21 ovens, 12 dugout pits and 58 metal storage tanks which had 2.329 million litres of illegally refined diesel and 2.19 million litres of stolen crude oil were discovered alongside two boilers and 750 bags of illegally refined petroleum products.
He said: “During the operations, troops also recovered one speed boat, one AK-47 rifle, one FN rifle, three smoke gun rifles, 12 fabricated RPGs, 263 live cartridges, 20 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 7.62mm special ammunition among other items”.
The Defence spokesman added that in the southeast, troops eliminated six members of the proscribed IPOB/ESN and arrested three members who were involved in the killing of a Divisional Police Officer in Imo.
He said the troops also arrested one notorious IPOB/ESN member named Obumneke Gabriel at Umueli Amaraku in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, who was in possession of firearms and ammunition during the arrest.
“Relatedly, troops raided IPOB/ESN members’ hideout at Amaechi Idodo community in Nkanu Local Government Area of Enugu State and Nguzu Edda in Afikpo South in Ebonyi.
“During the operations, one ESN commander was neutralised and another apprehended.
“Cumulatively, a total of six IPOB/ESN members were neutralised and 13 criminal elements arrested by troops and other security forces operating in the zone within the period.
“Troops also recovered 19 AK-47 rifles, two Dane guns, one G3 assault rifle and three locally-made pistols.
“Other items recovered were 30 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, three daggers, and one locally-made double barrel pistol loaded with 10 rounds of cartridges,’’ he said.
The defence spokesman stressed that the armed forces and other security agencies remained committed to fighting all forms of criminality until sustainable peace was achieved in the country.