Controversy as military announces death of notorious militant, Kareowei, hours after arrest

A new twist in the alleged surrender and arrest of notorious militant warlord, Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo, also known as Kareowei, emerged yesterday as the Joint Military Task Force, code named Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), announced the mysterious death of the kingpin in its custody.

Kareowei, who was arrested on Wednesday night in Ogbobagbene community, Burutu Council of Delta State, was confirmed dead yesterday in a statement by the spokesman of the military outfit, who said he died during a cross fire between militants and troops of the OPDS.

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, other expressed anger that operatives of OPDS allegedly killed Kareowei, who reportedly surrendered to them.

Sources said Kareowei was killed on Thursday night in a controversial manner after his reported surrender and subsequent arrest at Ogbobagbene.

Yet, others claimed the killing might be an alleged attempt by security personnel to protect the reported involvement of some political leaders from the state.

The authorities of the task force, with headquarters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, in a statement signed by Coordinator of its Media Campaign Centre, Major Ibrahim Abdulahi, stated that the arrested militant was shot dead during an ambush launched against the military by some suspected militants in a failed rescue bid.

According to the statement, the men of the task force were attacked by other militants who laid ambush for them on their way to the forest with Kareowei to retrieve some of the arms and ammunitions from his hideout.

The statement said: “In a twist of events, Kareowei’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 Kareowei from own troops.

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