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15 hostages rescued, 2M Litres of Oil Recovered… Defence HQ Gives Bimonthly Update

Within the past two months, the Nigerian Armed Forces have rescued 15 hostages in Southern Nigeria, discovered 61 illegal refining sites during anti-bunkering operations, and recovered 1.78 million litres (4,465 barrels) of crude oil, according to an update given by the Defence Headquarters on Wednesday.

The press release, signed by Major General John Enenche, Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, said the report covers the period between March 18 and May 5 and includes operations from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, and other security agencies.

Other recoveries made during maritime operations such as Operations AWATSE and DELTA SAFE included 1.76 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 116,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), and 11,750 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

“During the Swamp Boogie operations, several refining ovens, receivers, surface metal storage tanks/drums, coolers and dugout pits were deactivated and immobilised,” the release said.

“Fishing Trawlers were also arrested and handed over to NIMASA [Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency]. In all, 15 hostages were rescued, a barge and some weapons were recovered and three pipeline vandals arrested.”

During the same period, the Nigerian Navy rescued three Beninoise whose fishing trawler burst into flames at an anchorage in Lagos and impounded 894 50kg bags of parboiled rice smuggled into the country through the Agbami field in Akwa-Ibom State.

Major General Enenche said, “The Nigerian Navy responded to a distress call by Beninoise Navy for assistance, when 11 crewmen on board a Portuguese flagged container ship, MV TOMMI RITSCHER in Benin territorial waters came under attack by pirates. Among those rescued were Ukrainians, Bulgarians and Filipinos.”

The press release further disclosed that, under Operation Lafiya Dole, 343 members of Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) were killed while “several others suffered various degrees of gunshot wounds with narrow chances of survival”.

This figure may include 134 insurgents reported on Monday to have been killed during the ongoing Operation Kanta na Jimlan coordinated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.

“This is in addition to several others, including their key leaders, killed by Air bombardments. Furthermore, most of the Boko Haram’s logistics installations and networks have been destroyed, while 16 of their informants and logistics suppliers were arrested,” the Defence Headquarters said.

The Defence Headquarters concluded that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are winning the war against criminals and insurgents. It assured the public of the military’s commitment to protecting the country’s economic assets.

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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