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Published On: Thu, Nov 7th, 2013

JTF Smashes Robbery Gang, Arrest Oil Thieves in Niger Delta


LAGOS OCTOBER 8TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta said on Thursday that it had captured a gang of sea robbers in the waterways in Rivers State.
The JTF Media Coordinator, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement in Yenagoa that the robbers were captured during a multiple anti-oil theft patrol operations by the JTF.
Nwachukwu said the military operations which cut across the JTF’s areas of responsibilities in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states, was carried out between Oct. 21 and Oct. 30.

He said the robbers were captured on board a double engine speedboat in the waterways of Twene community in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
He said: “Our troops of the 130 Battalion in the Sector 2 of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, have arrested three sea robbers armed with three AK47 rifles and 177 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.
“The sea robbers were on board a double 75-horse power speed boat along the waterways of Twene near Torah community in Ikwere Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“They were arrested at about 10 pm while prowling the waterways for opportunity targets,’’ he said.
Nwachukwu said the JTF patrol troops also arrested six suspected oil thieves at ‘oil well head 26’, located at Ekuluma II when they were siphoning crude oil from the well.
He further disclosed that in Delta, troops of 3 and 19 Battalions of the JTF covering the state stretch of Sector 1 arrested 24 suspects for illegal oil bunkering activities.
He said the arrests were made during anti-oil theft patrols at Mosagor, Sample Road, Ewe 1, Umami, Asiagbere Creek in Gbekebor, Okufoma and Okwuagbede communities in Delta.
His words: “The patrol troops also scuttled seven illegal crude oil distillation sites and 17 Cotonou boats.
“Also destroyed were 16 steel reservoirs, 29 large plastic reservoirs and three welding machines used by the thieves for their illicit operation,” Nwachukwu said.
The JTF spokesman also said that in Bayelsa, troops of 343 Regiment and 5 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF arrested 10 suspected pipeline vandals.
The arrests, he said, were effected when the troops were patrolling the waterways of Bolbo, Opigni and Mansonkiri in Brass Local Government Area.
According to him, the suspected vandals were arrested when they were attempting to hack into Agip pipeline in Nembe.
Nwachukwu said the troops also destroyed 18 illegal oil distillation sites and 9 boats conveying stolen crude oil.
“During the anti-oil theft operations, 40 suspects were arrested for oil theft related offences. They are currently undergoing preliminary investigations under the JTF command,” he said.
Nwachukwu said that after investigation, the suspects would be handed over to relevant agencies for prosecution.

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