Security operatives in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta reg ion may have begun a manhunt for the militants behind the unending spate of attacks on oil installations in the region, the Punch newspaper reported Sunday.
According to the paper, the manhunt is being undertaken by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, otherwise known as Operation Restore Hope.
Already, some notable militants and youth leaders in the region have been placed on surveillance by JTF, made up of representatives of all the security agencies in the country.
The Punch said the JTF action is in compliance with Friday‘s order of an offensive against militancy and criminality in the region by President Umaru Yar‘Adua.
Consequently, one of the oil companies, Chevron, has shut down its swamp operations in the Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, which produce about 180,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Yar’Adua, embarrassed by the incessant attacks on the oil facilities in the regi on despite his peace efforts, said Friday that his government would no longer tolerate criminality in any form, the paper reported, adding that the President wanted the JTF to “uncover the identities of those hiding under the cloak of Niger Delta struggle to inflict willful damage on the oil equipment in the region”.
Yar’Adua reportedly warned the JTF not to allow further attacks on the oil facilities in any part of the region, the paper said.