Investigations have revealed that Karaowei Gbakumor, the same notorious militant leader who police in Delta has placed an N2m bounty on his head for the kidnap and killing of a British missionary in Enekorogha, Delta state, is responsible for the latest onslaught in Bayelsa state.
Multiple sources told BigPen Online that ‘General’ Karaowei had fled Delta state at wake of the kidnap saga of the Britons and subsequent killing of late Ian Squire who was kidnapped alongside three other British nationals in Burutu Local Government Area in October, last year.
The dreaded militant warlord after his escape, our source revealed, he immediately join force with some group of ex-militants and became their leader following his notoriety in the waterways.
Our source hinted that the recalcitrant militant leader had led several kidnapping, sea robberies and other criminal activities operations in the Delta and Bayelsa state waterways particularly in Ekeremor Local Government Area, which has boundary with Delta state.
Our source revealed that Karaowei elements were responsible for the killing of a military officer few week ago in Toru-Ndoro community in Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State which led to the invasion of the community by military troops.
The tension created in the community started following the beheading of the senior military officer by the militant gang, who made a show out of the murderous act by displaying the head round the community.
The slain security officer, whose identity had been kept under wraps, was reportedly killed in an undercover operation to apprehend Karaowei.
Following the development, soldiers of the military Joint Task Force operating in the Niger Delta were said to have bombed Toru-Ndoro community, despite the Bayelsa state government intervention to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
The military operation however was targeted to smoke out the gang members of the notorious militants terrorising the area led by ‘General’ Karaowei.
The gruesome murder and display of arrogance reportedly compelled the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) to deploy troops in the area with a mandate to neutralize the gang and arrest Karaowei, the source told BigPen Online.
Sources disclosed that during the operation, soldiers shelled the community for about ten hours between 10pm on Saturday and 7am on Sunday morning, revealing that about 50 houses were allegedly burnt by the rampaging soldiers..
The source disclosed that an ex-militant leader from Ogulagha Kingdom, Delta State, Mr. Bonny Gawei , who was said to have accompanied the beheaded security operative to Toru-Ndoro on the peace mission, was abducted by the fleeing militants.
His whereabout remained unknown and no contact have been made to his family members by the militant, thus fueling suspicious that the ex-militant leader, Bonny Gawei may have also been killed by Karaowei who earlier threatened to kill him.
In an onslaught which ensued thereafter, four additional soldiers and unknown number of militants were said to have lost their lives in the bloody military operation to rid the Toru-Ndoro community of ruminants of Karaowei militant gang.
The ODS (Operation Delta Safe), Commander, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, had deployed more troops in the community to intensified their search to locate the hideout of the militant leader and his boys in the creeks.
A senior military officer, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the killing of four soldiers by the militants and assured that the murderers and their leader would soon be apprehended.
Lamenting the situation, the Chairman of IYC, Central Zone, Mr. Tari Porri, condemned the violent attitude of some youths in communities.
He said: “The situation there at Ndoro community was orchestrated by some of our political leaders who buy these weapons and pay these young men to intimidate people during elections and after the election, they fail to retrieve these weapons from them.
“Some of our political leaders celebrate these young boys more than the sane ones. As a zone and Ijaw youth council, we sympathize with those affected by the operations carried out. We condemn the act in its entirety.
“Cutting the head of a human and celebrating with it is an abomination and we condemn it. We call on our community’s leaders and rulers to stop celebrating criminals. I am worried that if the military doesn’t succeed in apprehending the young man, his return will be deadly”.
While sympathising with the military, Porri appealed to military officers involved in the operation to ensure professionalism.
He added: “We don’t want this issue to be misinterpreted. This is a clear case of political leaders encouraging criminality and sponsoring our people against our people. We appreciate all their efforts and pray that the perpetrators are brought to book.
“We call on our political leaders, community leaders supporting criminals in our environment to stop. The Governor of Bayelsa State, who doubles as the Governor-General of the Ijaw nation has swung into action and has had several meetings with security operatives.
“The military, police, civil defence and Navy has mobilized into the community. What we want is peace to return to Ndoro community”.
The Bayelsa State Government described the recent killings as barbaric, lawless and totally condemnable, he said.
Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, led by Eric Omare , a lawyer while reacting to the onslaught had called on President Buhari and the military authority to halt the bombardment of the communities in the Niger Delta in order to avoid a repeat of similar past situations in Odi , Bayelsa state and Ajapa , Ondo state.
IYC, added that while it does not support the criminal activities of certain individuals in the region, it will be tantamount to gross injustice if the sins of few individuals are visited on the residents of the region.
A government statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Dr. Boma Spero Jack said that the governor condemned the crude, barbaric and reprehensible act in Toru Ndoro community.
Spero-Jack added that the governor found the act completely unacceptable and counter-productive to the security efforts of the government.
Written by Joe Ogbodu