THREE young men allegedly working as oil pipeline surveillance workers and two women dealing in illegally refined diesel have been arrested by officers and men of the 3 Battalion Army, Warri, Delta State, while over 15 mammy boats used for conveying illegally refined petroleum products were destroyed during an operation to wipe out illegal refining in the state.
Commanding officer of the 3 Battalion, Lt. Col. Ifeayin Out made these disclosures while parading the suspects before newsmen, describing the early hours operation around the Opumami, Bennet Island and Macaraba areas of Warri South and South-West as very successful.
The names of the surveillance workers are: Olotoye Rufus, Emotoghan Akpos while the third, alleged to be a worker in one of the illegal refineries is Victor Tene. The suspected female oil thieves caught along with them at a camp include Tokere Lucky, 22 and Ebibare Ayas, 36 years.
Commander Out said they would be thoroughly investigated and then handed over to the appropriate prosecuting authorities for further action.
The surveillance workers were allegedly caught at the entrance of a creek where illegal bunkering is conducted, while the women were caught¬†transferring refined products from jerry-cans.
However, the surveillance workers denied knowledge of any illegal refinery around their operations camp where they were picked up, saying that when they saw the soldiers they happily welcomed them in the belief that they were both working along the same surveillance duties. Their identity cards were also confisticated by the soldiers.
The women also denied being caught in any oil deal, saying that they were merely engaged in their fishing business.