By Jude Zoho
The Nigerian Army said troops on ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ have destroyed 74 illegal refineries and militants’ camps in Bayelsa and Rivers in the last 48 hours.
Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman confirmed the development in a statement issued on Friday.
Usman said several materials used in the refineries were destroyed during the raid but no militant or kidnapper was arrested.
“Troops of 2 Brigade conducting field training exercise code named “Exercise Crocodile Smile” have within the last 48 hours discovered and destroyed 74 illegal refineries and militants and kidnappers camps Rivers and Bayelsa.
“On Wednesday, September 7 troops of Sub-Sector Bravo in response to a tip off on the presence of suspected kidnappers at Akupoku community, carried out a raid at the location.
“But no arrest was made as the kidnappers have fled the area. However, the team also raided Ke community, at the verge of the Atlantic ocean where they discovered and destroyed an illegal refinery.
“The troops recovered and destroyed 3 large cooking pots and 20 tanks filled with illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO).”
Usman said another set of troops also discovered and destroyed another illegal crude oil refinery at Bile and recovered 12 large refining cooking pots.
At Abonnema axis, Usman said troops destroyed a suspected kidnappers’ camp at Abakrikri Fishing Pot.
He added that troops of 130 Battalion also raided suspected kidnappers camp at Awukiri and recovered arms and ammunition.
Usman said troops have also intensified search for the kidnappers nests and other criminal elements across the area.
He said the Army’s medical unit of 2 Brigade has been dispensing free medical services at Twon Brass in Bayelsa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several illegal oil refineries, camps of militants have been destroyed since the Army started the exercise a fortnight ago.
Several militants were arrested in the course of the exercise while a number of communities have been provided with medical aid.