Yenagoa - The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta Region, “Operation Pulo Shield,'' said it had traced the oil spill at Nembe Community in Bayelsa to the activities of oil thieves.
Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the spokesman of the JTF, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that operatives of the task force had identified the source of the spill.
Nwachukwu also dismissed claims by the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) that its men attacked the facilities belong to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), in Nembe.
He described as false ``the claim by those criminals of blowing up a well head”.
The spokesman said the JTF “troops on patrol along Nembe Creek 1 Flow Station had earlier reported an incident of oil spill on the water around Ewwelesuo Community in Nembe.
``The troops observed a fresh dug out possibly for laying illegal pipeline and fresh foot prints which were traced to a small camp.
``Items such as hack saw for cutting pipelines, shovels, food items, cooking pots, sleeping mat, foot wears, bags of pure water and clothes were found in the camp”.
Nwachukwu said that the affected oil well operated by Shell in the Nembe axis had been shut down to forestall further damages to the environment.
NAN also gathered that the camp used by the oil thieves in Nembe area for the illicit trade has been destroyed by the JTF.
The Public Affairs Official of the SPDC, Tony Okonedo, declined comments on the reports of the oil spill when NAN correspondent contacted them.
OkenTheedo did not also respond to text messages sent to him on the issue.