The stolen crude oil were found buried inside traditional grounds, fetish shrines, sitting rooms in some houses and septic tanks to avoid detections by security agencies.
The task force, which was confounded by the desperation of the oil thieves, said in a statement signed by the Coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre of the Task Force, Lt.Col. Mustapha Anka, that the illegal oil bunkering squad of the JTF Operation Pulo Shield uncovered the new tactics applied by oil thieves operating in the Niger Delta region following the seizure of a 12,000 litres capacity sewage truck loaded with stolen crude oil.
The sewage truck was intercepted in Ibada Amukpe community in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State.
“The sewage truck was later declared to be carrying waste and heading to a disposal, but was discovered to be carrying stolen crude oil.
Both the suspects and the product are now in the custody of the JTF for preliminary investigation before handing them over to prosecuting agency.
Meanwhile, the troops attached to the JTF launched a security operation against suspected criminals in Bayelsa State and discovered one AK 47 assault rifle with registration number CK28817.
According to the JTF, “One foreign made double-barrel shot gun and a locally made single-barrel shot gun with 12 live cartridges were also recovered. No arrest was made as the criminals had escaped before the arrival of the troops. The weapons and the cartridges are in the JTF custody, while efforts are ongoing to apprehend the criminals.
“Also, the troops of the JTF raided eight illegal bunkering sites at Opumani creek and Adudu in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, where oil thieves operated with 10 pumping machines, 17 cooking points, three illegal storage tanks and eight metal tanks.
Other items discovered at the sites included 13 Cotonou boats and illegal bunkering hoses.
“The sites and equipment were destroyed on the spot, in line with the task force mandate in the Niger Delta. A surveillance supervisor with a private security guard were also arrested in connection with the illegal oil bunkering.
In a related development, the JTF squad operating along Bayelsa and River States general area has arrested a 33,000 litres capacity truck with Lagos registration number RRP 132 XA containing substance suspected to be illegally acquired diesel
“The suspects abandoned the trucks and fled on sighting the troops. Both the trucks and its contents have been destroyed. The task force also destroyed 17 illegal oil bunkering camps along freedom creek where oil thieves operates with six Cotonou boats,13 crude oil reservoir and a boat filled with suspected stolen oil.”
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Police Command yesterday confirmed the arrest of six suspected pirates and armed robbery suspects following a security operation launched in some parts of the state capital and the coastal communities in the state.
While three suspected pirates were arrested by the Marine Police formation along Akassa waterways of Brass Local Government Area, another three suspected armed robbers were arrested by security operatives attached to the Akenfa Police Divisonal Command and the Ijaw House building.
The spokesman of the state Police Command, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, identified the arrested pirates to include Akosi Godlaw,Aboy Isou and Femi Odigiri.
The arrested armed robbers are Ebi Vincent (20), Victor Elvis (20) and Henry Dogo (22).
According to Akhigbe, “The suspected pirates were arrested after they had successfully attacked a passenger boat along the Akassa waterways at about 11.15a.m. and dispossessed them of their valuables. Our marine police personnel chased them and arrested the three suspects. “Policemen attached to the Ijaw House building along the Sani Abacha expressway on August 5 at about 4p.m. sighted a commercial tricycle popularly known as ‘Keke Napep’ and became suspicious of the passengers. They chased and caught the Keke Napep and searched the passengers, a locally made pistol was found on a passenger with two cartridges. The case has been transferred to the state CID.”
“Another case of suspected armed robbery was also recorded at about 11.30p.m. on August 3 when three suspected armed with a pistol went to attack one Roland Simon’s shop along the Winners Church road in Etegwe area. They dispossessed their victim of recharge cards worth N42,000 and a cash worth N8,000. They were chased by the patrol team of the police and arrested.”