The Nigerian Air Force says the air component of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) destroyed boats laden with stolen crude oil as part of efforts to thwart oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
NAF spokesman Edward Gabkwet disclosed this in a statement on Monday. He said the air component had on Saturday bombarded three boats carrying stolen crude oil at about four nautical miles southeast of Bille, a riverine area located west of Bonny Island and south of Port Harcourt, in Rivers.
Mr Gabkwet said the boats were sighted tapping crude oil from a pipeline. He added that the crew observed an active illegal refining site with tanks and reservoirs loaded with suspected illegal refined products, about 4 miles southeast of Idama, also in Rivers.
According to him, the site has been subsequently attacked and destroyed.
“Airstrikes against these economic saboteurs will be sustained until they desist from their acts of thievery and economic sabotage. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has since directed all air component commanders nationwide to ensure they team up with other security agencies to sustain air strikes on all criminal elements in the country,” the statement noted.
It added, “He said that days of treating criminal elements with kid gloves is over, saying that NAF must continue on the trajectory until they brought all of them to their knees.”