10 July 2013, Yenagoa – The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta code named Operation Pulo Shield, has arrested a community chief (names withheld) and three other persons over alleged involvement in the ownership of an unlicenced vessel and the theft of 2,000 metric tones of crude oil on the Akassa waterways in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
It was learnt that the chief, who is from Twon Brass, was arrested after the crew apprehended on the seized vessel claimed he was their sponsor.
A security source told our correspondent that operatives of the JTF, had in the last few days been on the trail of the alleged unlicenced vessel and its owners.
“We discovered that the boys came under the cover of the night and siphoned crude oil from the oil pipelines on the Brass-Sangana River in Akassa area,” the source said.
According to the source, some of the community chiefs and heads, it was also discovered provided cover and funds for the oil thieves in the state.
“We have started a series of collaboration with communities, but we will not spare those directly involved in the illicit trade,” the source added.
When contacted, the Media Coordinator of the JTF, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said though he was yet to get the details on the arrest, “I will get in touch with our men in Sangana area and get back to you.”
– Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard.