Militancy: DHQ replaces operation ‘Pulo Shield’ with ‘Operation Delta Safe’

*Personnel of the Joint Task Force.

*Personnel of the Joint Task Force.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

23 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Defence Headquarters has announced the scrapping of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, known as Operation Pulo Shield, as part of the efforts to ensure better protection of oil pipelines and curtail insecurity in the Niger Delta.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement on Wednesday that Operation Pulo Shield was replaced with Operation Delta Safe.

Abubakar said that the decision was taken in line with the directive of the Defence Headquarters for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness against insecurity and the protection of the nation’s pipelines in the Niger Delta.

Under Operation Pulo Shield, the military had moved several armaments to the Niger Delta swamps including gunboats, helicopters, and personnel to tackle a resurgent militancy in the region, to little effect.

Operation Delta Safe is a more targeted effort to curtail the menace of oil pipeline vandalisation by militants in the region and is said to be in line with the Federal Government’s peace overtures to militants in the Niger Delta.

Abubakar said that the new task force with headquarters in Yenagoa had three sectors and five operational bases covering the entire Niger Delta, Ondo and Akwa Ibom States.

According to the statement, “The Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta has been scrapped with immediate effect and replaced with Operation Delta Safe.

“This is in line with the Defence Headquarters initiative to restructure the Joint Task Force for better service delivery, efficiency and effectiveness in line with the vision and mission of the Chief of Defence Staff to contain the current security challenges in the Niger Delta especially protection of critical national assets and provision of security in the area.”

It added that “Under this arrangement, the Joint Operational Areas of the new outfit have been delineated into three sectors and five Operational Bases covering the entire Niger Delta, Ondo and Akwa Ibom States. The Headquarters of Operation Delta Safe would be in Yenagoa.

“This development, according to Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin becomes expedient in order to inject new tactics and robust operational initiative to tackle the emerging security challenges in the Niger Delta region such as piracy, bunkering, vandalism and other criminalities prevalent in the area.” The statement read.

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