JTF seizes 53 vessels, 200 barges, destroys 840 illegal refineries in 8 months

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, said it impounded 53 vessels, 200 barges and destroyed 840 illegal refineries in its fight against oil theft from March till date.

Col. Mustapha Anka, Media Coordinator of the task force, told newsmen on Tuesday in Yenagoa that efforts of the JTF had significantly reduced the menace of oil theft in the region.

The task force is under the command of Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, who took over in March.

Anka said that JTF officers rebuffed a bribe offer of 65,000 dollars (about N120million) and arrested the culprits.

He said that the troops destroyed four militant camps, freed and rescued more than 10 victims from the kidnappers’ den.

According to him, the task force equally embarked on advocacy campaigns to enlist the support of oil communities in the fight against oil theft.

“The command also embarked on confidence building patrols to dissuade the youth and community from involving in illegal oil bunkering and other criminality in the region.

“As part of corporate social responsibility, the task force secured a free medical mission for Akenpai and Igomatoru communities of Southern Ijaw in Bayelsa.

“It also provided a borehole in each of the two communities to ensure potable water for the people,” Anka said.

On operational equipment, Anka announced that the Defence Headquarters had ordered 30 additional gunboats for the task force.

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