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The Joint Task Force ( JTF ), Operation Delta Safe (ODS), on Friday confirmed that a militant leader in its custody, Oyawerikumor Peregbabofa, popularly known in the creeks of the Niger Delta as Karaowei, was later killed in an ambush.
JTF’s Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC), Maj. Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the militant, who was apprehended on Thursday, was killed in an ambush laid by his fighters to rescue him.
Abdullahi in a statement said: “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 the 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 kingpin, Karowei who tried to rejoin his cohorts.”
The statement further listed the atrocities committed by the deceased militant leader, saying the Commander, ODS, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, commended the Burutu and Ekeremor communities in Delta and Bayelsa States for their cooperation during the operation.
It added: “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 seven-day clearance operation was initiated by the Commander of JTF, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, to sanitize 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 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.
“Also on 7th January 2018, Karowei and his gang attacked own troops at Bolu Ndoro forest which led to the death of four military OPDS personnel.
“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 had constituted serious security menace around the general area.
“The Commander Joint Task Force also wishes to seek additional selfless support from law abiding citizens to uproot all criminals causing mayhem within the Niger Delta.
“He urges all to go about their legitimate businesses as the waterways are now safe and secure. Furthermore he assures the local communities of the Task Force’s commitments to stem all criminalities in the Niger Delta in line with the mandate of the Chief of Defence Staff as well as strategic expectations of the Joint Task Force.”