By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Defence Headquarters says the military in its operations in the South-South zone of the country has rescued 13 foreigners who were kidnapped in Lome waters.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said this at the updates briefing on military operations in August across the country on Thursday in Abuja.
Enenche explained that Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH in one of its operations in August intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made up of seven Russians and six Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.
He said that four Nigerians were also on board of the speed boat.
According to him, the troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the zone with tremendous successes.
“Subsidiary Operation SILENT HEAT was launched by Operation DELTA SAFE on Aug. 1 for 90 days.
“The objective of the operation was to protect critical installations, key points and vital points as well as combat all forms of illegalities and crimes in the area.
“The operation is conducted to maintain conducive environment for oil and gas industries as well as other economic activities to thrive,” he said.
He said that since the activation of Operation SILENT HEAT, several arrests and deactivation of various militant camps had been made.
“It was during the course of the operation that on Aug. 19, Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made of seven Russians and six Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.
“The 13 kidnapped foreigners as well as four Nigerians on the speed boat have been handed over to Defence Intelligence Agency for further necessary action,” he said.
He said that in the course of other subsidiary Operations CALM WATERS II and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE on Aug.16, Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY patrol team intercepted and arrested seven men suspected to be smugglers at Agbana-West by the Nigerian-Cameroun maritime border.
“The suspects were arrested with a medium size wooden boat laden with 203 bags of foreign parboiled rice and 62 empty drums suspected to have been used to smuggle Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant products to Cameroun.
“Accordingly, the suspects, bags of smuggled parboiled rice and the medium-sized wooden boat were handed over to Operation BORDER DRILL for further investigation and prosecution in line with extant regulation,” he said.
He said that within the month of August, several arrests were made by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE; large quantities of stolen crude oil as well as other petroleum products were impounded.
“Cumulatively, a total of 1,309,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1,824.04 barrels of stolen crude oil and 302,000 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered in the month of August 2020 in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers.
“Additionally, a total of 344 bags of smuggled parboiled rice were impounded in the zone.
“From these successes, it is clear that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE and other security agencies working together remain resolute and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against economic sabotage,” he said. (NAN)