Abuja, Nigeria | – Nigerian soldiers destroyed 74 illegal oil refineries and several militant camps in the oil-rich Niger Delta, an army spokesman said on Friday.
The army carried out raids based on a tip-off in southern Rivers and Bayelsa States on Wednesday, where oil pipelines and refineries are regularly attacked by militants, spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement.
No arrests were made, since the militants managed to escape, but some weapons and ammunition were recovered, Usman said.
Across the swamps of the Niger Delta, oil thieves refine stolen crude oil worth billions of dollars in makeshift, illegal refineries, such as massive tanks or open-air pits.
In addition, various militant groups regularly attack oil installations in the Niger Delta to demand a share of profits for the local population. Some also demand regional self-government.
The attacks regularly cause a slump in oil production. Some 70 percent of state income depends on oil and gas.