Defence Headquarters says the troops of Operation Delta Safe have apprehended 17 oil thieves and dismantled several illegal refineries in the South-South zone in two weeks.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, said this at the bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.
Danmadami said the troops conducted patrol, raids, clearance and swamp buggy operations in the creeks, villages, communities and towns in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers State.
He said the troops discovered and destroyed several illegal refining sites with 17 wooden boats, 103 storage tanks, 94 ovens and 58 dugout pits.
According to him, troops also recovered 10 trucks, one generator, one tanker, two vehicles and eight pumping machines.
“Trooper arrested 17 pipelines vandals while a total of 7,805 barrels of crude oil and 2,613 barrels of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) were recovered.
“In addition, a total of N134.6 million of AGO and N402.4 million were denied the oil thieves.
“Accordingly, an approximated value of product denied oil thieves within the period under review was N537.09 million,’’ he said.
Danmadami said the troops had between Sept. 9 and Sept. 13 arrested four suspected armed robbers at Okpokumu community in Delta and Iduodah community in Rivers.
“Items recovered from the suspects include two G3 rifles, one locally made pump action gun, one locally made pistol, three G3 magazine, three AK47 magazines, 280 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 780 rounds of 7.62mm special, MMG metal links, two boafeng radios.
“Others items recovered are five pairs of military camouflages, six pairs of desert boots, some Nigerian currency notes and large quantities of items suspected to be hard drugs.
“The arrested suspects and items recovered have been handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he said.
Pro-independence rebels tried to seize strategic buildings in the Congolese mining hub of Lubumbashi overnight, beheading two policemen and killing a soldier before security forces repelled the incursion, regional authorities said.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s second-largest city is the capital of the mineral-rich south-eastern province of Haut-Katanga, where mining companies such as Ivanhoe and MMG Ltd have concessions.
Late on Friday, around 200 Mai-Mai militiamen, armed with guns and machetes, had marched into the city of around two million people with the aim of occupying official buildings and the local television station, Provincial Interior Minister, Fulbert Kunda, said.
Two police officers were beheaded and a soldier was shot dead in the stand-off with security forces, who killed 16 rebels as they rebuffed the attack, he said.
“At the moment, the situation is under control and it has become calm across the whole territory of the city,’’ Kunda said in a video statement.
Mai Mai comprise several armed bands that originally formed to resist two invasions by Rwandan forces in the late 1990s.
They have since morphed into a variety of ethnic-based militia, including hardline secessionists.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
The Democratic Republic of Congo has given copper and cobalt mining companies a month to stop confining workers on site away from their families, the labour minister said in an open letter on Wednesday.
Labour Minister Nene Nkula said the confinement was part of COVID-19 restrictions and return to normal operations.
Workers have been told by managers to either stay and work or lose their jobs, civil society organisations said in June, citing miners and union representatives and demanding an end to the approach.
“All mining companies that have confined workers to the operating site are granted a one-month moratorium to return to normal operation,” Nkula said in the letter, dated July 13.
According to the minister, mining companies must provide healthcare for workers and their families, as well as decent housing and a healthy diet for confined workers.
Congo is Africa’s top copper producer and the world’s main source of cobalt, accounting for two-thirds of global supplies of the metal used in Smartphones and electric car batteries.
Mines minister Willy Samsoni has said full mine shutdowns would trigger a catastrophic economic and social crisis in the country, with the industry contributing 32 per cent of its GDP and 95 per cent of export revenue in 2018.
Companies mining in Congo’s southern copper belt include Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining, China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fungurume, MMG, and Chemaf, while Ivanhoe Mines is developing two copper mines there.
“Six workers at Glencore’s Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) mine in Lualaba province have tested positive for the novel coronavirus,’’ KCC said a week ago.
Glencore said KCC does not confine workers on site.
Ivanhoe locked down its Kamoa-Kakula project, moving workers into mine-site accommodation, on April 3.
On June 1, the company allowed the project’s Congolese employees to resume commuting to site from neighbouring communities.
“Companies in Lualaba have a month from July 2 to prepare sanitation measures and release all workers confined for over a month.
“In Haut-Katanga the period runs from July 6,’’ the letter said.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)