NAF intercepts bandits in Niger, frees rustled cattle

Agency Report

The Nigerian Air Force said on Sunday that it intercepted a group of terrorists in Niger State and freed some cattle earlier rustled by the criminals.

NAF said also destroyed several illegal oil refining sites in Rivers State and eliminated scores of terrorists in Niger State in recent coordinated air strikes.

The Director, Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, AVM Edward Gabkwet, stated this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

He said following a tip-off, NAF swooped on terrorists hibernating at Dandunu after rustling cattle from communities around the Kuchi-Kapana axis in the Munya Local Government Area of Niger.

Gabkwet said the NAF intercepted the terrorists on nine motorcycles leading the rustled cattle.

According to him, the motorcycle-riding terrorists were struck by the aircraft in several passes with most of them eliminated in the process.

“The feedback from locals around the location has so far been positive, with most of them being able to recover the rustled cattle and returning to their livelihoods,” he added.

Gabkwet said as the activities of oil thieves and economic saboteurs had become sophisticated, so had the NAF and other security agencies re-strategised to checkmate their activities and be ahead of their game.

He said that the oil thieves had in most cases continued to find new ways of concealing their overhead tanks used in storing stolen crude oil products from burst pipelines in the Niger-Delta region.

According to him, they also continued to infuse the use of fast speedboats to convey their stolen goods.

Gabkwet said in response, NAF and other security agencies had upped their game with modern technology and hardware that enable them to detect and deter the activities of oil thieves and economic saboteurs.

“In Willcourt, a riverine settlement within the creeks of Niger Delta Region, the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe sighted and destroyed three illegal refining sites.”

“The site has a total number of seven overhead tanks concealed under thick mangrove vegetation.

“Similarly, about five kilometres downstream, four boats were also sighted moving southwards with suspected illegally refined products. Our men attacked and destroyed the boats.

“While heading back, the crew spotted a speedboat with five suspected oil thieves fleeing the area.

“Upon sighting the aircraft, the criminals increased speed, hoping to evade the aircraft but the air component then pursued the speedboat until they arrived at the blocking zone of ground troops where they were arrested,” he said.

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