20 May 2012, Sweetcrude, PORT HARCOURT –The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, code-named Operation Pulo Shield, at the weekend, smashed an oil theft syndicate using the riverside Otuogori community in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State as depot for the transportation of illegally refined petroleum products to other parts of the country.
Six suspects were nabbed and a 36,000 litre capacity tanker, loading illegally refined diesel and 300 surface tanks, seized during the dawn operation led by the Commander, 5 Battalion of the JTF, Lt Col Ja’afaru Ibrahim.
The community folks, many of whom were believed to be involved in the business, were taken by surprise by the military raid, forcing many of them to abandon their homes stocked with the illegally refined product.
The raid came on the heels of last week’s destruction of 218 illegal refineries, 151 surface tanks and oil dumps around Oporoza in the Ecravos waterways of Delta State, Alakiri waterside and the adjoining creeks of Sombreiro river in Abonema, Rivers State.
The security forces seized a 36,000 litre capacity tanker, with registration number XQ 239 LSR, used in conveying illegally refined petroleum product (diesel), 26 large surface tanks, 2 Geepee tanks, each having 500-litre storage capacity, during the operation.
They also recovered over 300 drums of diesel, gigantic hoses, generators and10 pumping machines used in siphoning stolen crude oil as well as in transferring illegally refined products to surface tanks, waiting vessels and tankers.