YENAGOA – The joint military team deployed to protect oil facilities in the Niger Delta said on Thursday that it arrested six suspected vandals and pirates in multiple operations in April.
The team said in a statement signed by Col. Isa Ado, its spokesperson, in Yenagoa on Thursday that its men recovered arms in the operations.
The statement said that troops deployed to Ohaji/Oguta Local Government Area in Imo on April 7 recovered an automatic rifle with one magazine loaded with 14 rounds of 5.5mm ammunition.
It said that the troops also recovered two locally made single barrel guns and a pistol.
It said that following a tip off on April 20, troops in conjunction with the Nigeria Pipeline Development Company and the Directorate of State Services recovered a lorry suspected to be carrying crude oil.
“Our troops also arrested three suspected pipeline vandals on April 22 in connection with the vandalised Nigerian Agip Oil Company pipeline in Kwale, Ndokwa local government in Delta.
“One of the suspects, a member of the local vigilance group, confessed to receiving gratification from other suspects to allow them access to the company’s pipelines,’’ the statement said.
It added that the items recovered from the suspects included two oxygen cylinders, two cutting nozzles, welding hoses and cell phones.
Other items recovered included six hack saw blades, an axe, cutlass and hacksaw frames.
The statement said that suspects were in the custody of the team for preliminary investigation before handing them over to the prosecuting agency.
The statement further said that troops deployed to Ogbonbiri Flow Station in Southern Ijaw in Bayelsa on April 15 arrested an illegal oil bunkerer while attempting to vandalise a well.
It listed items recovered from the suspects to include one cutlass, one cell phone and a small wooden boat.
“The marine component of the joint force, NNS Delta, also conducted anti-illegal oil bunkering patrol between April 16 and April 9.
“During the operation, two suspected sea pirates were arrested in Agoro in Burutu local government of Delta,’’ it said.
It listed items recovered from the suspects to include a locally made gun with four cartridges and a 40 horse power Yamaha outboard engine.
It said the troops also discovered a network of illegal oil refineries with 10 tanks each containing 5000 litres of illegally refined diesel on Lolumo Creek, Gbaramatu Kingdom.
It said that three Cotonou boats laden with about 100 metric tons each and 40 HP engine speed boat were also recovered.
“The Cotonou boats and their contents were destroyed while the speed boat engine is in the custody of the joint force for further action,’’ it said.
The statement said that NNS Pathfinder, while conducting anti-illegal oil bunkering patrol on April 12, discovered a large warehouse used for illegal bunkering activities at Ogbogoro-Uzoba Waterside in the Choba axis in Rivers.
It listed items in the warehouse to included 350 drums of illegally refined diesel, different sizes of polythene bags filled with adulterated products, four plastic tanks filled with stolen crude and seven pumping machines.
It added that five suspects were arrested during the operation.
It added that the warehouse had been sealed and would be guarded till formal handing over for prosecution. (NAN)