The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta on Friday said it was collaborating with Southern Ijaw Local Government Council of Bayelsa to curb oil theft in the area.
Lt.-Col. Mustapha Anka, Media Coordinator of the JTF, said this in a statement made available to the newsmen in Yenagoa.
He said that the cooperation had led to the arrest of two suspected oil thieves in the area.
Anka added that 13 illegal refineries were shut down and destroyed by a combined team of JTF troops and the council’s Oil and Gas Task Force.
“The special combined squad has discovered and destroyed 13 active illegal oil distillery camps, where oil thieves operate with illegal storage dumps, Cotonou boats and pumping machines, filled with stolen crude and diesel.
“Similarly, troops of the JTF in Edo , while on patrol dismantled six illegal oil refining camps at Okpogbene and Satama general area in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta.
“The camp where illegal oil bunkerers operate with four Cotonou boats, 16 cooking oven and 35 drums filled with substances, suspected to be stolen oil with sundry tools were destroyed by the troops.
“Two suspects were arrested during the operation.
“Other items recovered include 23 surface tanks filled with stolen crude.
“The items were moved to a safe area and destroyed, while the suspects were taken into custody for preliminary investigations before handing them over to prosecuting agencies,” the JTF stated.
According to the spokesman, the troops patrolling Opumani community water ways in Warri South Local Government of Delta also intercepted two Cotonou boats loaded with unspecified volume of illegally refined diesel.
Two speed boats and two pumping machines used by oil thieves were seized and set ablaze.
Anka noted that combined squad have intensified patrols and remained mobile in line with the JTF Commander’s zero tolerance campaign against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.