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NAF destroys 13 illegal refining sites, 7 boats in Rivers operations

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has announced the successful destruction of 13 illegal refining sites and seven Cotonou boats during operations conducted in Rivers State.

Additionally, the operations dispersed five J-5 buses attempting to siphon suspected crude oil products from surface tanks.

According to Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information for the Nigerian Air Force, the operations took place between 18th and 22nd June 2024 under the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe.

The statement highlighted various significant strikes targeting illegal activities in the region.

“On 18th June 2024, the Air Component destroyed illegal refining sites near Imo River, which included seven overhead tanks. Numerous suspected bunkers were observed fleeing the scene,” the statement revealed.

Further operations on 19th June 2024 extended to Wilcourt in Rivers State, where an illegal site and canoe filled with illegally refined products were destroyed along with gunboats.

Gabkwet continued, “Intelligence led the aircrew to another location approximately 6km from Tunu in Bayelsa State on 20th June 2024, resulting in the identification and destruction of illegal refining sites with precision.”

Highlighting a significant event on 22nd June 2024, Gabkwet noted the discovery of five J5 buses, likely reconfigured into mini tankers, attempting to siphon illegally refined products at the Imo River bank. The aircrew promptly destroyed the illegal refining sites supporting these buses, dispersing the vehicles attempting to evade detection.

The successes were attributed to enhanced intelligence, improved air-to-ground coordination, and the NAF’s agility and resilience. Gabkwet emphasized that operations would continue until economic sabotage activities are minimized.

This latest effort follows previous operations in April 2024 when the NAF destroyed seven illegal refining sites across various locations in Rivers State and intercepted four boats loaded with illegally refined products.

The NAF remains committed to combating illegal refining activities and securing the nation’s oil resources in collaboration with other security agencies under Operation Delta Safe.

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