Air Force destroys 13 illegal oil refineries in Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo

The Nigerian Air Force has recorded new progress in the fight against economic saboteurs after its fighter jets destroyed illegal oil refineries in Rivers, Bayelsa and Imo States and destroyed seven illegal oil bunkering vessels.

Disclosing this on Sunday, Air Force Spokesperson, Air Lieutenant General Edward Gabkwet, said that between 18 and 22 June 2024, air units of Operation Delta Safe destroyed 13 illegal refinery facilities and seven ships in Cotonou, as well as dispersing five J-5 buses attempting to siphon suspected crude products from above-ground tanks.

He said: “On June 18, 2024, an illegal facility with seven upper tanks was discovered near Imo River, however the tanks were subsequently destroyed and some suspected bunker personnel were seen fleeing.”

“On June 19, 2024, airstrikes were extended to Wilcote, Rivers State after an illegal facility and a canoe loaded with illegally refined products, as well as several gunboats, were sighted. Similarly, following information that an illegal refining facility was located about six kilometres away from Tunu, Bayelsa State, aircrews proceeded to the scene, identified and destroyed the facility. The operation was carried out with great precision.

“Another significant strike by the Air Force was carried out on June 22, 2024, when crews spotted five J5 buses, possibly converted into mini tankers, on the banks of River Imo, attempting to siphon illegally refined products.

“Surprised by the economic saboteurs' change of tactics, the crews did not hesitate to quickly destroy the illegal smelter that was supplying fuel to the bus. The J5 bus then scattered, with some of them seen hiding under trees to avoid detection.”

“Air strikes against economic saboteurs and oil thieves continue to produce expected results, primarily due to improved intelligence gathering capabilities, enhanced air-to-ground coordination, and most importantly, improved agility and resilience of the NAF. These operations will continue until saboteur activities are minimized.”


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