The Federal Government has uncovered 145 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region within seven months.
The refineries were discovered between May 2021 and January 6, 2022, by the Defence Headquarters.
The Acting Director, Defence Military Operation, Major Bernard Onyeuko, said this in Abuja while giving update on military operation in the region.
Onyeuko said that the troops immobilised 209 ovens, 122 cooking pots/boilers, 161 cooling systems, 224 reservoirs, 160 large dugout pits and 367 storage tanks at the sites.
He added that 12.8 million litres of illegally refined diesel as well as 29,237 barrels and 6.49 million litres of stolen crude oil were recovered within the period.
According to him, 3.9 million litres of kerosene and 10.2 million litres of illegally refined petrol were also seized by the troops.
He said: “Additionally, troops recovered 33 assorted arms, 5,268 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 21 AK-47 rifle magazines.
“Troops also impounded 3,110 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice, 662 pieces of galvanized pipes, 32 tanker trucks and 119 wooden boats used for illegal oil bunkering.
“41 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 77 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period.
All the arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.”
Onyeuko also said that troops of Operation AWATSE in the South West fighting against pipeline vandals and economic saboteurs successfully forestalled criminal activities within the period under review.
He said the troops impounded 1.5 million litres of illegally refined petrol, 9,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 355,000 litres of illegally refined diesel.
According to him, troops recovered 1,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles in the region.
He said: “Also, within the period, 15 illegal refining sites were immobilised, while 12 boats and 13 trucks engaged in illegal activities were seized.”
Similarly, he said that 15 kidnapped civilians were rescued in the Southwest region, while 28 criminal elements were arrested during the period.