Published On: Mon, Jun 24th, 2013

JTF Nabs 14 Suspected Crude Oil Thieves in Delta, Bayelsa

JTF patroling Niger Delta creeks


LAGOS JUNE 24TH ( URHOBOTODAY) The Joint Military Task Force (JTF) code named Operation Pulo Shield has arrested of 13 persons in Delta and Rivers states over their alleged involvement in pipeline vandalism and theft of crude oil along the creeks and waters in the Niger Delta region, the JTF Media Coordinator, Lt. Col. Onyenma Nwachukwu, said on Sunday.
Nwachukwu in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said three persons were arrested in Beneth Island of Warri South Local Council of Delta State and the Agbede Forest of Edo State for illegal oil bunkering.

He asaid that 11 other suspects were arrested in Kalamabo and Opukula communities in Akuku Toru and Bodo West of Gokana Local Council of Rivers State for their involvement in illegal oil bunkering and fire outbreak on the pipeline owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The JTF spokesman said some of the arrests were carried out by different formations of the Task Force with operatives lying in the bush for days in the region to trap pipeline vandals.
The statement reads in part, ‘The Joint Task Force OPERATION PULO SHIELD deployed in 3 Battalion of Sector 1 of the JTF has arrested three suspects running three illegal oil distillery camps in Opumani Gbekebor, Beneth Island of Warri South Local Council of Delta State and Agbede forest in Edo State. The suspects were arrested during an anti-illegal oil bunkering operation with four metal tanks, 236 drums and 13 pumping machines at the illegal oil distillation sites.
Five dug out pits used by the oil theft suspects to store stolen crude oil at the illegal distillation camps were also sealed by the troops. The three suspects, Samson Kristo, Lawrence Pius and Powede Clerk, who were arrested in the operation, are helping in preliminary investigations at the Headquarters of 3 Battalion before they will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency.
During the operation, the troops also intercepted 27 open boats used by oil thieves to convey illegally distilled products along Chanomi West in Warri South Local Council of Delta State. In a separate operation, JTF troops deployed at Sanbarth have arrested two suspects who specialises in vandalising oil pipelines along Kalamabo and Opukula Communities in Akuku Toru Local Council of Rivers State.
The culprits, Fineface Shedrack and Solomon Doutimiti, who were caught by troops of 130 Battalion of Sector 2 after three nights of lying in ambush were arrested for serial pipeline vandalism and illegal oil distillation activities around the area. The suspects were hacking into Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) pipelines located in the said community when they were nabbed.’
The Commanding Officer who conducted the operation, Lt Col Caius Baushe, called on SPDC to carry out an assessment exercise on the pipeline
He said that the level of excavation and possible touch on the pipeline could not be ascertained due to high tide that covered the entire area. Items, including an open boat containing pipe hacking equipment, were recovered from the suspects.
Meanwhile, troops of 146 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF have arrested eight persons in connection with the recent fire outbreak on an SPDC pipeline in Bodo West of Gokana Local Council of Rivers State. The troops who sighted the fire at about 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday mobilised to the scene where they found the eight people in two tug boats.
‘During the interrogation, they claimed to be employees of Steve Integrated Technical Service and Sege Marine hired by Shell to fix broken pipelines in Bodo. The suspects are currently in Sector 2 Headquarters for preliminary investigations. They will be handed over to an appropriate prosecuting agency if found culpable at the end of the investigations,’ the statement further read.
Source: The Nigerian Voice

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