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In the wake of negotiations and strikes by militants against oil companies and their infrastructure in the Niger Delta region, The Nigerian Navy has made a significant move towards securing the region.
On Wednesday, the Navy conducted Operation Safe Strike against the militants. In the operation, the Nigerian Navy arrested 75 people suspected of a host of charges, including illegal oil bunkering, kidnapping, impersonation and militant activities throughout the Niger Delta Region.
The Navy impounded three vessels and 80 boats that contained stolen crude oil. At Opuama in the Ughelli South Council, the Navy also located a workshop specializing in the manufacture of pistols and rifles.
Commodore Joseph Djunve, who is the commander of the NNS Delta, said that the suspects were arrested in different parts of the Delta State, with the bulk of the arrests being made in the Niger Delta. Djunve added that different types of weapons were being made at the workshop, and that the NNS Delta had information that the militants used their resources to rupture pipelines and to steal crude oil. A box containing equipment used in those activities was shown, along with the arrestees at the Warri Naval base. One of the arrestees who identified himself as Joseph Oba claimed that he was loyal to Farah Dagogo, who is a militant leader in the Bayelsa State. Oba, who was apprehended when the NNS Delta found the gun-making operation, said that he was invited to join the group, but he added that he joined the “without knowing what he was walking into.”
Also on Wednesday, the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region announced that it had killed seven suspected militants. Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Otuji stated that three suspects were arrested in Yenagoa, in the Bayelsa State. According to Otuji, the taskforce also rescued a boat carrying rice and passengers that had been seized by suspected members of the Bakassi Strike Force.
Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com
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