A truck loaded with 50,000 litres of stolen crude oil at Umuebulengwu community has been intercepted by Soldiers of the 14 Brigade, Ohafia, stationed at Owaza, Ukwa West Council area, Abia state.
According to reports, the criminals loaded the truck with Registration number, XD 531 KHE, at the river bank in Ohando community from where they abandoned it at Umuebulengwu area.
The Operations Officer, Forward Operation Base, FOB, in the area, Captain Ishaya Banki, who represented the Commanding Officer of the Brigade, Brigadier General Lawrence Fejokwu, displayed the items believed to have been used by the oil thieves to carry out their acts to newsmen.
The items were a storage tank, wooden boats and hosepipes which the vandals laid through the river bank to the sea where they are believed to have sourced the crude oil.
Capt. Banki praised the residents of the area for alerting the soldiers to the activities of the vandals at the river bank and also attributed the discovery to the success of the operation Crocodile Smile in the area.
“The hoodlums laid a pipe from the source where they were siphoning the crude from the sea to the bank of Ohando water front, using a pumping machine to pump the crude into the waiting truck
“When we got the information, we swung into action. But by the time we got to this waterfront they had already moved the truck and smartly covered their track.
“But with the help of the villagers and our intelligence, we were able to trace the truck to this village (Umuebulungwu) and have been guiding it since yesterday,” he said.
He added that “The Army is grateful to some residents of this area who tried to inform about the activities of oil vandals. What happened was that their vehicles got bogged down along the road. It was a night operation.
“We are however making arrangements to tow back the truck to safety and awaiting further directives. So far, from our investigation, we believe the crude in the truck is about 50,000 liters and efforts are ongoing to track the owner of the truck,” he explained.
He warned the Army is determined to eliminate oil bunkering and pipe line vandalism which had caused much harm to the nation’s economy, stressing that anybody caught would face the full wrath of the law.