According to the Nigeria Air Force’s spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, air components of Operation Delta Safe have destroyed around 30 illicit oil refinery sites in Degema local government area of Rivers State in the previous two months.
Gabkwet stated in a statement confirming the air strikes on Sunday that the operational and illegal refineries were in the Cawthorne and Bille Channels in the vicinity.
Several storage tanks, reservoirs, and Cotonou boats suspected of siphoning crude oil from a flow station were also destroyed, according to the statement.
“Air strikes conducted on Cawthorne Channel and Bille, both located in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, proved successful as seven illegal refining sites were identified and destroyed,” Gabkwet said.
Read also: Operatives uncover nine hi-tech illegal refineries in Bayelsa
“In Cawthorne Channel, four active illegal refining sites with dug-out reservoirs and surface storage tanks suspected to contain illegal refined products were sighted on September 15, 2023. Subsequently, the sites were destroyed.
“Similar air strikes were also conducted at Bille on September 16, 2023, and in the early hours of September 17, 2023. There, three 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 two 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,” he added.