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Army raids Rivers forest, nabs five oil thieves, unearths 225,000 liters of stolen crude


Army raids Rivers forest, nabs five oil thieves, unearths 225,000 liters of stolen crude

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In a bold move against illegal oil bunkering, operatives of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have apprehended five suspects involved in the illicit activity.

The operation also led to the discovery of five 45,000-liter reservoirs filled with approximately 225,000 liters of crude oil hidden in the dense forest of Odagwa community in Etche Local Government Area.

The achievement was unveiled as the Commanding Officer of the 29 Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Ishaya Manga, guided journalists through the forest, showcasing the success of the operation.

Lieutenant Colonel Manga attributed the accomplishment to a strategic blend of technology and human intelligence.

Representing Major General Jamal Abdusallam, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Lieutenant Colonel Manga emphasized the relentless commitment of the troops to curbing illegal oil bunkering and other criminal activities within their Area of Operation.

Highlighting the magnitude of the operation, Lieutenant Colonel Manga highlighted the discovery of numerous cooking pots, indicative of widespread illegal activities in the area.

The destruction of these pots further demonstrates the army’s unwavering resolve to eradicate illegal practices and maintain law and order in the region.

Manga said: “In continuation of our operation to rid 6 Division area of illegal oil bunkering and other forms of criminality which began in February organised by the division. It is against this backdrop that the troops of 6 Division were directed to identify, locate and destroy all illegal refineries within the 6 Division area of responsibility.

“We use two approaches to our discoveries, one of the approaches is drones, but it is not everything that the drone can sight, so we deployed our second approach which is human intelligence and that is what we’ve been using so far and it has been yielding tremendous results.

“This is economic sabotage against the federal government, impacting negatively on the social economic activities, as well as the health of the citizens and that is why we are here. We would continue to do our best to ensure that all illegal refineries in this area are destroyed.

“Apart from these reservoirs, there are other cooking pots at various locations not far from here which would be completely destroyed.

“In this general area of Odagwa, our troops have discovered about five reservoirs filled with about 45,000 liters of illegal crude oil and there are other empty reservoirs discovered by the troops, the operation is ongoing and we will continue to make further discoveries. As soon as the discoveries are made, the public would be informed.”

He praised the cooperative efforts of citizens who abide by the law in combating illegal oil bunkering in the state, cautioning those who engage in economic sabotage to avoid damaging government infrastructure.

“I also want to send a message to those oil bunkerers to desist from these forms of criminality because it is against the law, this is sabotage against the federal government, Rivers State government and the community where this heinous crime is being carried out.

“So far we have arrested five suspects and those arrested would be taken to the division where they would be referred to the relevant authorities for prosecution,” he said.