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Nigerian Air Force cracks down on illegal crude oil activities in Rivers State



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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has launched a successful operation against illegal oil refining and bunkering activities in Rivers State.

The mission, conducted between March 25th and 26th, 2024, targeted several locations across the state.

According to Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information for the NAF on Wednesday, airstrikes hit illegal refining sites and barges laden with stolen crude oil products.

Targeted areas included Bille, Dariama, Elem Bekinkiri, Temakiri, Opumakiri, and Degema.

He said, “The sites and barges destroyed were “discovered between 25 and 26 March 2024 at Bille, Dariama, Elem Bekinkiri, Temakiri, Opumakiri, and Degema in Rivers State.

“At Bille, a barge filled with illegal refined products was observed meandering through the creeks and subsequently struck.

“At Dariama and Tumakiri, active illegal refining sites with reservoirs and cooking pots were identified to be active and subsequently engaged and destroyed.

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“Illegal oil refining sites at Elem Bekinkiri and Opumakiri were, however, observed to consist of abandoned IRS.

“At Degema, several active illegal refining sites with reservoirs filled with illegally refined products were observed and engaged accordingly, setting them ablaze.

“It is pertinent to note that some of the illegal refining sites at Bille and Dariama have been destroyed in the past but have been reactivated.

“Accordingly, the NAF and other security agencies will continue to intensify efforts at discovering and disrupting the activities of the oil thieves operating in the region and beyond.”

These operations are part of the ongoing efforts by the NAF, as part of Operation Delta Safe, to combat oil theft and economic sabotage in the Niger Delta region. The environmental impact of illegal refining, which often leads to pollution of waterways and surrounding ecosystems, is a major concern addressed by these crackdowns.

The NAF has vowed to continue its operations, working alongside other security agencies, to dismantle these criminal networks and protect Nigeria’s oil resources.

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