Mkpoikana Udoma 18 October 2014, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Joint Military Taskforce, JTF, operating in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, says it has arrested no fewer of 9 suspected oil thieves and destroyed 31 illegal refineries in its operations in the region in the last three days.
The JTF also said it intercepted an illegal bunkering tugboat, christened MV Tubista, loaded with suspected illegally refined Automated Gas Oil, AGO, along Tomugbene Area in Warri Southwest Local Government of Delta state.
A statement by the JTF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Mustapha Ankar, said the captain of the tugboat, Akinfemiwa Bojo and the engineer Solomon Ogunnola were arrested onboard the vessel during the operation.
Ankar in the statement also said the duo have been handed over to sector 2 of the JTF for preliminary investigations before being handed over to the relevant prosecuting agencies.
In the meantime, some suspected sea pirates have killed a member of the JTF in Bayelsa state during a gun battle.
Report said all the soldiers were injured when the incident occurred on the Orukuru waterways in Nembe, Nembe Local Government Area.
The soldiers were said to be on patrol when they ran into the pirates, who were operating on a speed boat which led to an exchange of fire.
However, the Media Coordinator of the JTF, Lt. Col. Mustapha Ankar said the patrol team successfully repelled the pirates.