Politics, controversy dog death of militant, Karowei, in prison

Seriake Dickson

There was a new twist in the arrest of a notorious militant leader Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo also known as ‘Karowei’ by operatives of the Joint Military Task Force code named Operation Delta Safe with his mysterious death in custody.

Karowei, who was arrested on Wednesday night in Burutu community of Delta State, was confirmed dead on Friday reportedly during a cross firing between militants and troops of the ODS.

The confirmation that the notorious militant was killed few hours after his arrest has triggered exchange of words between the state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylvia and the minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.

While some argued that that the explanation offered by the security operatives may be a cover up to avenge the killing of five security personnel by the militants, others claimed that the killing may be an alleged attempt by security personnel to protect the reported involvement of some political leaders from the state.

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But the authorities of the Joint Security Task Force code named Operation Delta Safe (ODS) in a statement signed by coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre, Major Ibrahim Abdulahi, stated that the arrested militant was shot dead during an ambush launched against the military by some suspected militants in a failed rescue bid.

According to the ODS, “In a twist of events, Karowei’s recalcitrant group laid an ambush and attacked Task Force troops in a gun battle at his camp deep in the forest.

“This was in a bid to rescue Karowei from own troops. The superior firepower, resilience and gallantry of own troops countered this snap attack which resulted in the death of several of Karowei’s henchmen and the king pin, Karowei who tried to flee to re-join his cohorts.”

According to the ODS, “In line with the Joint Task Force (JTF) OPERATION DELTA SAFE (OPDS) mandate to protect critical Oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region, a deliberate operation code named Op EMBER SAFE was conducted by the  Force.

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“This operation was aimed at tackling the security challenges posed to safety of lives and critical oil and gas facilities in the region.

“Consequently, a 7-day clearance operation was initiated by the Comd JTF Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman to sanitise the region of militants, cultists, sea robbers, kidnappers and other criminals.

“During the operation, precisely on Thursday 11 January 2018, a notorious militant leader Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo also known as ‘Karowei’ and his criminal gang were arrested.

“It could be recalled that Mr Karowei and his criminal gang abducted four (4) British Missionaries on 13th October 2017 in Burutu local government area of Delta State which led to the unfortunate death of one of the Britons, Late Mr Ian Squire.

“Karowei and his gang were also responsible for several abductions/kidnappings, robberies and raping of innocent women in the region including unprovoked attacks on military locations in Delta and Bayelsa States.

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“Also on 7th January 2018, Karowei and his gang attacked own troops at Bolu Ndoro forest which led to the death of four (4) Military OPDS personnel.

“After his arrest, Mr Karowei confessed to several criminal acts and led troops to his camp to recover the cache of arms and ammunitions in his possession as well as to persuade other members of his gang to surrender.

“However in a twist of events, Karowei’s recalcitrant group laid an ambush and attacked Task Force troops in a gun battle at his camp deep in the forest.

The Commander, Joint Task Force, OPERATION DELTA SAFE, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman deeply appreciates the support of the locals within communities in Burutu local government area of Delta State and Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa State in finally uprooting this notorious criminal, who in conjunction with his gang have constituted serious security menace around the general area.”