More questions trail ex-militant’s death in JTF’s custody 

Many questions have trailed the death of twenty seven year-old Bayelsa State-born alleged kidnap kingpin and sea robber, Oyawerikumor Peregbabofa.

The self-styled “Creek General”, Karewei, who attacked security formations, sparked a lot of concerns in security circles, which had made soldiers of Operation Delta Safe to express doubt when he surrendered, last Thursday, at Torugbene community in Delta state.

According to a newspaper report, nobody who saw the pocket-sized “General”, would believe that he was the one that carried out deadly exploits associated with Karewei in the region, particularly the demonstrated outmaneuvering of soldiers at a military checkpoint in Ogbogbagbene, country home of former Minister of Niger Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe, in Delta State, July, last year, where a soldier was killed and a General Purpose Machine Gun, GPMG, carted away.

He was said to have begged for his life, just four days after he had gunned down four soldiers in a bloody creek battle just days after the encounter.

“What happened was that he ran out of ammunition and was badly wounded on his leg and shoulder”.

The quote shows that he was helpless and was no threat to the security operatives who could easily have moved him to their base and extract information from him to help them with further intelligence gathering.

A source said: “The  military arrested and navigated the waters straightaway, but made a U-turn at Ogbobagbene waterfront.

“Reason was that some of the officers had reservations about his identity because of his youthfulness. After many inquiries, they took him back to Toru Ndoro to check his persona. The top military officers went back in the convoy that waited to see Karewei at Ogbobagbene community.

“After validating his identity at Toru Ndoro community, security operatives interrogated him on why he had been terrorizing the creeks and he told them that it was because he wanted amnesty. They asked him if he had followers and he answered in the affirmative.

“They asked him how many they were, he said 16. He was asked to call them to come for  the disarmament process right away in the community. In the presence of soldiers, he made series of calls and 14 of his boys materialized in the community and surrendered their weapons to the military.

“Two of his men, however, smelt a rat and refused to come. The 14 that came did not suspect something fishy, but they trusted the judgment of their master who spoke as everything was under control, hence they responded to his call.

“At the time they assembled, it was late in the day and the soldiers, who displayed admirable know-how and native intelligence by deluding Karewei that he and his boys were actually going to be granted amnesty, pulled a bombshell, rounded them up and shot all of them dead on the spot,” he said.

According to an eye witness report, “Twelve bodies were thrown right into the river in front of my house, while the remaining four bodies, including Karewei’s were taken away.”

However, the doctored military account of how Karewei and his boys died, asserted: “After his arrest, Karewei 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, Karewei’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 Karewei from the troops.

“The superior firepower, resilience and gallantry of the troops countered this snap attack, which resulted in the death of several of Karewei’s henchmen and the king pin, Karewei who tried to flee to rejoin his cohorts”.

GbaramatuVoice sources alleged that before he capitulated, Karewei made several frantic phone calls to top politicians and security officials, saying he was ready to lay down  arms and accept amnesty.

Karewei was alleged to have been equipped by some prominent politicians and had called them few hours before he was allegedly gunned down by the JTF operatives.   

A school of thought, opined that he was probably killed to prevent him from naming his sponsors under investigation.

As if to support this claim, shortly after his arrest, Bayelsa state governor, Seriake Dickson and the former governor of the state, Timpre Sylva, both leaders of PDP and APC, in the state were engaged in a war of words with Dickson accusing the latter’s party of being behind the dishonorable criminal.

Despite the  military’s “hogwash”, most people took their story with a pinch of salt. 

“Since Karewei submitted himself and soldiers ingeniously hoodwinked him to surrender 14 other combatants, why did the Operation Delta Safe not wait to  investigate their sponsors and source of arms and ammunition, which would have gone a long way in cleansing the region of criminal godfathers and lawbreakers like them.”

More questions, rather than answers, still trail the death of the ex-militants.

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