By Balarabe Oshiafi
Combined troops of 302 Artillery and 14 Field Engineer Regiments of the Nigerian Army, conducting operations against terrorists have captured two locally made Artillery Projectile Launchers from fighters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN).
The artillery weapons, armed with projectiles were seized on Monday alongside other items, as troops swooped on the dissident fighters, who fled in disarray, deserting their camp on sighting troops’ advancement.
The Army revealed this in a press statement signed by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwackukwu, a copy of which was made available to ExpressDay on Tuesday.
The statement said: “In the operation, one combatant of the dissident group was arrested and several items, including 48 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition, 4 mobile phones, one handheld communication radio and substance suspected to be cannabis, among others were recovered by the troops.
“In a separate operation on the same day, troops of 34 Artillery Brigade conducted an offensive operation against oil thieves in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
“Troops recovered several items from the camp, including one crude oil cooking oven, three reservoirs, several connecting hoses and pipes, three mobile phones, one Power Generating set, 3 Pumping machines, one CCTV Camera mounted on a tree top, substance suspected to be cannabis and some fetish objects.
“Same troops, in a similar operation conducted the same day, uncovered and destroyed an illegal refining site, operating with several drums and crude oil ovens, laden with stolen crude oil, a dug out pit containing about 50,000 litres of crude oil and 57 sacks of illegally refined automation gas oil.
“Surprisingly, the sacks of illegally refined products were surreptitiously concealed in a community health centre at Egbema Shell and Egbema West respectively in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja reiterates the NA’s commitment to maintaining peace and security in the country and has charged the troops to be resolute and uncompromising in the fight against terrorists, economic saboteurs and other criminal groups in the country. He enjoins members of the public to provide credible information to security agencies to enhance ongoing operational efforts to improve security across the country”.