ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Security forces in the disputed province of Kirkuk on Saturday arrested two for stealing crude oil.
Saad Maan, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said local forces from the North Oil Company in Kirkuk arrested two truck drivers for stealing oil from a pipeline in the province.
The robbery took place in the Yayija area, where the group used a plastic pipe to siphon crude oil.
The official also added that the forces confiscated two trucks at the site of the robbery, with the assailants being sent to court.
Over the past few years, local security forces have regularly arrested groups of people for vandalizing oil pipelines and stealing the crude, some of which were sent to neighboring Iran via trucks.
The oil-rich, ethnically diverse province consists of Turkmen, Arabs, and Christians with a Kurdish majority.
On Oct. 16, 2017, the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi attacked Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk and other disputed territories, taking control of the oil fields the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Natural Resources had previously managed.
Exports from oil fields in Kirkuk to Turkey’s Ceyhan port fell to 63,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February, from 75,000 bpd the month before, according to the Iraqi Oil Ministry.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany