Oil Theft: NAF Demolishes 13 Illegal Refining Sites, Seven Boats

By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has destroyed 13 illicit oil refining installations and seven Cotonou boats in Rivers, Bayelsa, and Imo states.

NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, AVM Edward Gabkwet, who revealed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the air interdictions carried out between June 18 and June 22, by the air component of OPERATION DELTA SAFE, dispersed five J-5 buses attempting to syphon suspected crude oil products from surface tanks.

He stated that some of the unlawful facilities were located near the Imo River on June 18, along with seven overhead tanks, which were subsequently demolished while many suspected bunkerers fled.

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Gabkwet further revealed that air attacks were also expanded to Wilcourt, Rivers, on June 19, where an unlawful site was detected, and a canoe filled with illegally refined products as well as some gunboats.

According to Gabkwet, the aircrew also demolished some illicit refining plants located around 6 kilometres from Tunu in Bayelsa.

He stated that the air component carried out another big attack on June 22, when the crew detected 5 J5 buses, most likely modified into small tankers, attempting to syphon illegally processed materials from the Imo River bank.

“Amazed at this change of tactics by these economic saboteurs, the crew did not hesitate to immediately destroy the illegal refining sites feeding the buses.

“The J5 buses were later seen dispersed with some taking cover under trees to avoid detection.

“Air strikes against economic saboteurs and oil thieves have continued to record the expected outcomes.

“This is majorly due to improved intelligence, enhanced air-to-ground coordination, and most importantly, due to NAF’s improved agility and resilience.

“These operations will be sustained until activities of these saboteurs are reduced to the barest minimum,” he said.

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