The Joint Task Force deployed to the Niger Delta, on Friday, said it had arrested notorious suspected militant, Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo a.k.a ‘Karowei’, who on Oct. 13, 2017 masterminded the kidnapping of four British missionaries in Delta.
Karowei, however, died during a gun battle that ensued when his gang tried to stage his escape.
JTF spokesman, Maj. Ibrahim Abdullahi, said its troops, under an operation code-named `Op EMBER SAFE’, arrested the suspect and members of his gang in his hideout in Delta.
Abdullahi disclosed that the suspect was also behind the beheading of a security official in the state.
The residents of Ndoro community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa on Jan. 4 fled the area following the alleged beheading of a security operative by militants.
Abdullahi said that one of the British media aide workers, Mr Ian Squire, reportedly died in the kidnappers’ den in 2017.
“This operation was aimed at tackling the security challenges posed to the safety of lives and critical oil and gas facilities in the region.
“The 7-day clearance operation was led by the Commander of JTF, Rear Adm. Apochi Suleiman to sanitise the region of militants, cult members, sea robbers, kidnappers and other criminals.
“During the operation, precisely on Thursday, Jan. 11, 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 British Missionaries on Oct. 13, 2017 in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta, which led to the unfortunate death of one of the Britons, 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.
“Also on Jan. 7, 2018, Karowei and his gang attacked our troops at Bolu Ndoro forest which led to the death of four military personnel.
“After his arrest, Mr Karowei confessed to several criminal acts and led troops to his camp to recover the cache of arms and ammunition in his possession as well as to persuade other members of his gang to surrender,” the JTF spokesman said.
He said in a twist of events, Karowei’s gang laid an ambush and attacked troops at his camp, deep in the forest in a bid to rescue Karowei from troops.
He said the superior firepower, resilience and gallantry of troops countered the snap attack which resulted in the death of several of Karowei’s henchmen and the kingpin, Karowei, who tried to flee to rejoin his cohorts.
Abdullahi quoted the Commander of JTF as deeply appreciative of the support of the residents within communities in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta and Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa in finally dislodging this notorious criminal.
The Commander said that Karowei and his gang had constituted serious security menace around the general area.
The Commander appealed for additional support from law-abiding citizens in the efforts to dislodge the remaining pockets of criminals causing mayhem within the Niger Delta region.