Less than 24 hours after troops of military Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) arrested militant leader, Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo aka Karowei he has been confirmed dead in controversial circumstances.
OPDS in a statement issued by Major Ibrahim Abdullahi, coordinator Joint Media Campaign Centre(JMCC) said Karowei was killed in a gun battle while attempting to escape when his gang members ambushed military troops on the way to his camp.
Karowei who was said to have confessed to several crimes in the Delta and Bayelsa states including the kidnap and death of British Missionary, Mr lan Squire in October 2017 was leading military troops to his camp to recover cache of arms when his gang members opened fire on OPDS troops.
“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. However in a twist of events, Karowei recalcitrant group laid an ambush and attacked Task Force troops in a gun battle deep in the forest. This was in a bid to rescue Karowei from OPDS troops. The superior firepower resilience and gallantry of OPDS troops countered this snap attack which resulted in the death of several of Karowei’s henchmen and the king pin himself, Karowei who tried to flee to rejoin his cohorts” Abdullahi said.
However there are concerns over the mysterious death of Karowei especially after Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa of the PDP is locked in a verbal war over the alleged sponsorship of his activities with All Progressive Congress(APC) leader, former governor Timipre Sylva 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.
Meanwhile, a Civil advocacy group known as the Patriotic Citizens of Nigeria has in strong terms condemned the military invasion of Toru-Ndoro community in Ekeremor local government area and the wanton destruction of properties and killing of law abiding citizens in Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa state.
The group, in a statement issued by Arch-Convener, Aluzu, Ebikebuna Augustine and Co-Convener, Debekeme Powedei, alleged that ” several persons who are local palm wine tappers including one Master Endure Maika who was identified was recently killed by military after being compelled to show them the hide outs of suspected sea pirates operating in the area.”
“The military has reduced itself to a retaliation tool. This is the same military that is yet to burn down one house in Borno state in search of Boko Haram members. As we speak, the entire village of Toro-Ndoro is as quiet as a grave yard. The villagers are taking refuge under the harsh harmattan weather in the creeks. No boat is coming in to Toru-Ndoro and no boat is going out of the community.” he said.