By Solomon Odeniyi
Air strikes from the air component of Operation Delta Safe have destroyed no fewer than 30 active illegal oil refining sites in Cawthorne Channel and Bille, in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Also, storage tanks, reservoirs, and Cotonou boats suspected to be siphoning crude oil from a flow station were destroyed in the operations.
This was disclosed by the Air Force Spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a statement on Sunday.
The statement read, ” Air strikes conducted on Cawthorne Channel and Bille, both located in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, proved successful as 7 illegal refining sites were identified and destroyed. 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. “