The Nigerian Air force (NAF) Sunday said Air Component of Operation Delta Safe carried out airstrikes against oil thieves and operators of illegal oil refining sites in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers state.
A statement by NAF spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet disclosed that the air strikes which was conducted on Cawthorne Channel and Bille, both located in Degema LGA proved successful as 7 illegal refining sites were identified and destroyed.
It said in Cawthorne Channel, 4 active illegal refining sites with dug out reservoirs and surface storage tanks suspected to be containing illegal refined products were sighted on 15 September 2023. Subsequently, the sites were destroyed.
“Similar air strikes were also conducted at Bille on 16 September 2023 and in the early hours of 17 September 2023. There, 3 illegal oil refining sites with storage tanks and reservoirs were destroyed. In one of the sites, a cotonou boat suspected to be siphoning crude oil from a flow station was engaged in several passes and destroyed.
“In the last 2 months, Cawthorne Channel and Bille have accounted for the majority of oil theft and illegal oil refining activities in Rivers state.
“Within this period, over 30 illegal oil refining sites in these 2 locations have been destroyed by the Land, Maritime and Air Components of Operation Delta Safe. These efforts will be sustained in these locations and others until oil thieves and their accomplices desist from their illegal activities,” the statement reads.