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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Oil theft: Army destroys 14 boats in Abia, arrests suspects

The Nigerian Army on Friday, destroyed about 14 illegal oil bunkering vessels arrested with stolen crude oil in the oil-bearing Asa Community of Abia.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Army operatives set the vessels ablaze, including eight large Cotonou boats, at Isimmiri Waterside in Ukwa West Local Government Area.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada, who led the operation, told newsmen that six suspects were arrested in connection with the illegal oil bunkering.

Dada, who was accompanied by the Commander, 14 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ohafia, Brig.-Gen. Olusola Diya, said that the suspects had been handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for further investigations and prosecution.

He said that the Army was at the creek in respect of carrying out one of the mandates of Operation Udoka, “which is to make sure that any form of economic sabotage does not happen within its joint operation area.

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“We have been here since Thursday, conducting operations against saboteurs that are trying to take out the crude oil that is the mainstay of our economy,” he said.

Dada also said that the operation was based on intelligence report, adding that the suspects had attempted to start siphoning the crude from the pipeline, before they were arrested.

He further said that the suspects had sunk some crude oil-laden boats in the water before the troops got there, adding that, the troops were in the process of recovering others.

The GOC said that all the 14 boats were destroyed, in line with the Standing Operating Procedure.

“The person that is involved in this particular location is on the run presently but we will get him, it’s just a matter of time.

“This is more of a cartel and we believe that a lot of people are actually involved.

“The proceeds are being used to finance these acts of terrorism.

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“But as a note of warning, this is just the beginning.

“We will continue with this operation and make sure no stone is left unturned.

“The Nigerian Army will in no way tolerate any form of sabotage to the economy of this country,” Dada said. (NAN)

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