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Nigerian Troops Bust Syndicate Smuggling Petrol to Cameroon Rebels

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Military authorities in Nigeria have announced the successful interception and arrest of eight members of a syndicate specialising in smuggling fuel from the West African country to Ambazonian rebels in Cameroon.

The operation, conducted by troops deployed for counter-terrorism operations along the Nigeria-Cameroon border in Taraba State, marks a significant effort to curb the illegal supply of resources to terrorist groups and enhance regional security.

The operation took place on Friday, May 24, 2024, along the Abong-Kurmi Baissa Road in Taraba State, near the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.

In a statement released Friday, May 24, 2024 night, the Nigerian Army detailed the arrest and the preliminary investigation of the suspects.

“In a significant covert operation driven by actionable intelligence and extensive surveillance, troops of the Nigerian Army deployed for counter-terrorism operations along the Nigeria-Cameroon border in Taraba State have successfully intercepted and apprehended eight members of a syndicate that specializes in smuggling fuel from Nigeria to the Ambazonian rebels in the Republic of Cameroon to facilitate terrorists’ activities,” the statement read.

The suspects, identified as Jafaru Adamu (32 years), Auwal Haruna (34 years), Umar Dahiru, Mubarak Abdullahi (20 years), Saidu Musa (26 years), Bashiru Ibrahim (18 years), Danlami Yahuaza (19 years), and Abubakar Abdullahi (19 years), were caught en route to the border with a large quantity of fuel.

During preliminary investigations, the suspects confessed to smuggling and selling fuel to the Cameroonian Ambazonian rebels, who are prohibited from entering Nigeria to purchase the product directly.

Troops dismantle Nigerian syndicate allegedly supplying fuel to Amazonia rebels in Cameroon. | Photo courtesy Nigerian Military
Troops dismantle Nigerian syndicate allegedly supplying fuel to Amazonia rebels in Cameroon. | Photo courtesy Nigerian Military

The statement further disclosed the logistics of the operation. “The suspects revealed that they have previously bought fuel from Gassol and Bali Local Government Areas (LGA) at the rate of ₦950 per liter. However, they discovered that in Takum LGA the fuel was sold at ₦800 per liter, prompting them to source for the product in Takum.

“At the time of their arrest, the suspects were traveling in three J5 vehicles, carrying 605 jerry cans, each with a capacity of 40 liters, totaling 24,200 liters of fuel. The fuel, valued at ₦800 per liter, amounts to a total worth of Nineteen Million Three Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira (₦19,360,000) only.”

Further investigations led to the identification of other members of the smuggling syndicate, including Alhaji Abdulmumini, Jafaru Adamu, Babilu Zubairu, Sule Abong, and Mark Akawu, who is reportedly the chairman of the syndicate based in Abong, a border community between Kurmi LGA of Taraba State and the Republic of Cameroon.

“This operation marks a significant step in curbing the illegal supply of resources to terrorist groups and enhancing regional security,” the statement concluded.

The arrest of the syndicate members is expected to disrupt the supply chain of fuel to the Ambazonian rebels, thereby weakening their operational capabilities. The Nigerian Army’s continued efforts in counter-terrorism operations highlight the ongoing commitment to regional stability and security.

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