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Military launches airstrikes on illegal refineries in Rivers



By Hannah Nathan, Warri

According to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), its Operation Water Delta Safe Air raids at Yellow Island, close to Bonny Island in Rivers State, destroyed an illegal Refining Site (IRS) with equipment and reservoirs filled with illicit goods.

Congress learnt that two Cotonou boats that were spotted in the state near Okrika, at Arugbana, were also destroyed by the airstrikes.

The Air Force Spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, issued a statement on Wednesday that stated that aircraft over Cawthorne Channel, Bille, Dariama, Okrika, Bonny Island, and Idama during flights on Wednesday revealed a convoy of destroyed and abandoned IRS that had previously been destroyed by the Air Component.

The statement said, in part, “On November 28, 2023, aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force under Operation Delta Safe destroyed two Cotonou boats sighted at Arugbana near Okrika in Rivers State. Air strikes against economic saboteurs and oil thieves continued unabated in South-South Nigeria.”

“Similar strikes were also conducted on 27 November 2023 at a location Southeast of Abisse in Rivers state. At the location, an active IRS was sighted concealed with reservoirs and a storage tank suspected to contain illegally refined products.

“The reservoirs and storage tanks were then engaged and destroyed. Another location Northwest of Omama was also struck as it was observed to be containing items suspected to contain stolen crude oil in objects tied in sacks.

“Subsequent reconnaissance flights over Cawthorne Channel, Bille, Dariama, Okrika, Bonny Island and Idama revealed a retinue of destroyed and abandoned IRS, hitherto destroyed by the Air Component. These sites remain inactive, an indication that the measures being employed may be yielding the expected outcome.

“Either way, the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe will continue to carry out its assigned duties until the activities of these saboteurs are completely halted or reduced to the barest minimum,” the statement added.

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