Illegal oil refinery operators arrested in Nigeria

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The Nigerian military said Monday it had discovered an illegal refinery being operated by suspected militants in the country’s restive oil-producing Niger Delta region.

The refinery was discovered on Saturday in Ogu Bolo local council, located some 24 kilometres from Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers state in the Niger Delta region, said the commander of the joint military task force in Rivers state, Brig.-Gen. Sarki Bello.

He said the nine persons who were operating the refinery had been arrested

State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has ordered the destruction of the refinery, which taps crude oil from a pipeline supplying one of the state-run refineries in the state.

The capacity of the refinery was not disclosed, even though the army officer said it was refining diesel and condensates.

It is widely believed that the militants holding sway in the oil region routinely steal the country’s much-sought-after crude for sale to finance their activities, in addition to operating illegal refineries.

Stealing of crude oil, termed ‘bunkering’ in local parlance, costs Nigeria millions of dollars every year.

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