The Military Joint Task Force operation to protect oil installations in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, on Friday said it foiled an attack on Agip’s oilfield and has arrested 19 suspected vandals in several operations since May 2016.
This was contained in a statement made by Isa Ado,a colonel and spokesman of the JTF, which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
Ado said while the troops were on patrol on June 9 along Brass water ways of Bayelsa foiled an attempt by suspected pipeline vandals to destroy Agip’s oil pipeline at Okpoma Community.
He explained that the suspected vandals had dug and planted dynamites beneath the pipeline location in a swamp for detonation before the troops foiled the sabotage operation and recovered two dynamite detonators, cable wire and battery.
Ado added that on May 28, troops of the JTF arrested six suspected pipeline vandals and oil thieves in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa along Ebelebiri and Agba communities.
Eight boats loaded with illegally acquired crude oil were destroyed while the suspects were handed over to the prosecuting agency.
During a cordon and search operation in Oporoma Community of Delta, ten suspected pipeline vandals were arrested and weapons recovered, including one pistol, 195 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 14 handheld radio set, 30 detonating cords and several phones without SIM cards.
In a similar development, the Maritime Component of the Joint Force, the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Delta on May 26 and June 14, respectively, arrested three suspected coordinators of several pipeline bombings across the region.
The spokesman added that one of the arrested suspects reportedly confessed to being part of the group that bombed the Nigerian Petroleum Developing Company, NPDC, crude oil pipeline at Escravos, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta.
Ado said that several bomb related items were recovered from the vandals who bombed the Escravos facility.
He assured that the joint military force will not be deterred by the activities of criminals and remains highly committed in carrying out its mandate professionally within the Niger Delta region.
According to him, efforts are underway to round up fleeing criminals including pipeline vandals and to dismantle all militant camps in the region.
He urged people of the region to support the force by providing credible and timely information to aid their operations.