Troops from Sector One, Operation Delta Safe, Warri, Delta State have destroyed a major illegal refining camp at Otumara, Warri southwest local government area.
Commander of the Sector, Colonel Habib Baba Manu who led newsmen to the camp measuring about six kilometers around the Excravos river said troops will continue to occupy the place to stop the oil thieves from resuming their illicit trade there.
“We will continue to occupy the place to stop this sabotage on our national economy”, he said.
He said the operation to dislodge the oil thieves lasted four days, adding that swamp boogie was deployed to destroy equipment is used for the illegal bunkering activities.
Tanks that could take about five million liters of the illegally refined crude were among items destroyed during the operation.
”You can see the tanks, drums used to store the illegal crude. It was big economic crime going on here,” Manu said.
Holes used by the oil thieves to siphon the product to vessels and Cotonou boats that positioned at the Excravos river littered the camp.
Colonel Manu said no arrest was made during the operation because the oil thieves alerted one another for escape whenever they sighted boats, military boats and non-familiar faces heading towards the camp from the river.
Spokesman 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Colonel Aminu Ilyasu who also spoke said the Division also mobilised support for the operation, adding that soldiers from the Division who are part of the Operation will be among those to occupy the camp.
He said the General Officer Commanding the 6 Division, GOC, Major General Jamil Sarham has said there would be no hiding place for oil thieves in states under the Division.
He said those behind illegal oil bunkering activities, attacking oil facilities in the region should stop the act, stressing that they would face the law when arrested.
About five military tents have been erected in the camp with soldiers already deployed to the place. The Excravos river has been so polluted from activities of the oil thieves.