Troops Deny Oil Thieves N1.2bn, Arrest 14 Perpetrators

The Defence Headquarters has said that its troops, in maintaining the momentum against crude oil theft, have arrested 14 perpetrators, and denied them N1,212,036,140.00 (One billion, Two Hundred and twelve million, Thirty-six thousand, One hundred and forty naira).

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while briefing the media on military operations across the country in the last week.

He said that troops of OPERATION DELTA SAFE while conducting raid operations of criminal hideouts in Akpabuyo and Bakassi LGAs in Cross River State and Ogbia in Bayelsa State, discovered and destroyed 15 dug-out pits, 45 boats, 87 storage tanks, 13 vehicles, over one hundred and twenty cooking ovens, 4 outboard engines and 63 illegal refining sites.

Products recovered include 360,000 litres of stolen crude oil, over thirty-five thousand litres of illegally refined automotive gas oil (AGO), over thirty-eight thousand litres of DPK, and 45,000 litres of PMS.

Weapons recovered include 119 assorted weapons, over one thousand five hundred assorted ammunition, 1 GPMG, 3 PKT guns, 39 AK47 rifles, 5 locally fabricated rifles, 1 locally made double barrel gun, and 1 Beretta pistol.

While raiding criminal hideouts in Akpabuyo, troops neutralized a notorious combatant identified as Mr. Okon Bassey, aka Okonma, and recovered a locally made pistol loaded with cartridges among other weapons.

In the North-East, troops of OPERATION HADIN KAI conducted fighting patrols in Damboa and Bama LGAs in Borno State; responded to information on the activities of terrorists in Tarmuwa LGA of Yobe State, and conducted ambush operations on terrorists in Konduga, Bama, Gamboru and Gwoza LGAs of Borno State.

Overall, the OPHK troops neutralized 39 terrorists, arrested 22, and rescued 18 kidnapped hostages. They recovered 35 AK47 rifles, 1 GPMG, 3 PKT guns, 3 locally fabricated rifles, 136 hand grenades, 12 magazines, 349 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo among others.

In the North-Central, troops of OPERATION SAFE HAVEN arrested suspected criminals in Riyom, Mangu, Bokkos, and Jos North LGAs in Plateau State. Through coordinated fighting battles, troops rescued kidnapped hostages in Mangu and Jema’a LGAs of Plateau and Kaduna States respectively as well as Ningi in Bauchi State.

A summary of the activities of troops of OPERATION SAFE HAVEN lists recovered weapons to include: 6 AK47s loaded with 14 rounds of 7.62mm, 3 fabricated rifles, 18 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, and 43 rounds of 7.62mm NATO.

They neutralized 2 terrorists, arrested 99, and rescued 15 kidnapped hostages.

Furthermore, an onslaught against terrorists by troops of OPERATION WHIRL STROKE, in Benue and Taraba States, led to the neutralization of 20 terrorists, the arrest of 9, and the rescue of 7 kidnapped hostages, while one other hostage was killed in a gun battle with terrorists in Logo LGA of Benue State.

Buba further disclosed that troops of OPERATION HADARIN DAJI arrested a suspected ammunition courier in Birnin Magaji LGA of Zamfara, as well as a suspected terrorist in Dan Musa LGA of Katsina State.

The troops, while conducting stop-and-search, arrested a suspected ammunition courier, who was on a mission to deliver ammunition to a terrorist leader identified at Gishir in Zamfara State. They recovered a bag containing over two hundred and twenty rounds of 7.62mm special ammo.

Overall, troops neutralized 10 terrorists, arrested 11, and rescued 11 kidnap victims. They recovered 3 AK47 rifles, 1 PKT gun, 125 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 2 rocket-propelled grenades, and 9 motorcycles.

In the northwest, troops of OPERATION WHIRL PUNCH ambushed terrorists in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State and also arrested terrorist collaborators in Zaria and Giwa LGAs in Kaduna.

The troops in this theatre of operation conducted raid operations on suspected criminal hideouts in Abuja Municipal Area Council in the FCT, where they arrested 34 suspected criminals, and destroyed their accommodation.

Troops of OPERATION UDO KA, operating in the South-East, raided criminal and IPOB/ESN hideouts in Ihiala and Aguata LGAs of Anambra State and in Abia and Ishiagu in Ebonyi States. They neutralized 3 terrorists, arrested 9 suspected criminals, and rescued 3 kidnap victims. Weapons recovered include 4 locally made pistols, 48 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 6 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo among others.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects, and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action which also includes prosecution”, Buba said.

Concluding his briefing, the Director averred that the country is at war with terrorists, insurgents, and violent extremists, even though it does not appear to be the case in some parts of the country, adding that it is a reality and that men and women of the Armed Forces have been deployed to the nooks and crannies of the country to ensure the safety of citizens.

He called on the public to support the Armed Forces in the war, by either praying, giving advice, providing logistics support, sensitizing communities, and providing information, stressing that every citizen has a role to play.

“We can only win the war with the support and cooperation of the general public”, he said.

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