4 British Missionaries’ Abduction: Nigerian Army Arrests Masterminds

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Ian Squire, a British optician who has died after being taken hostage doing charity work in Nigeria CREDIT: CATERS NEWS AGENCY

By Augustine Osayande

Troops of Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) have arrested a notorious militant leader Peregbakumo Oyawerikumo also known as ‘Karowei’ alongside his criminal gang suspected to have abducted four British nationals on missionary outreach in Delta state, Nigeria.

Confirming the report, Coordinator Joint Media Campaign Centre Major Ibrahim Abdullahi said Karowei and his gang was responsible for the abduction of 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, Ian Squire.

“In line with the Joint Task Force (JTF) OPERATION DELTA SAFE (OPDS) mandate to protect critical Oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region, a deliberate operation code-named Op EMBER SAFE was conducted by the Force.

“This operation was aimed at tackling the security challenges posed to the safety of lives and critical oil and gas facilities in the region. Consequently, a 7-day clearance operation was initiated by the Comd 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 (4) 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 (4) Military OPDS personnel” Abdullahi said.

Abdullahi further stated that 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 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 flee to rejoin his cohorts” Abdullahi added.

He said the Commander, Joint Task Force, OPERATION DELTA SAFE, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman 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 have constituted serious security menace around the general area.

Abdullahi said the Commander seek additional selfless support from law-abiding citizens to uproot all criminals causing mayhem within the Niger Delta and urges all to go about their legitimate businesses as the waterways are now safe and secure. “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,” Abdullahi said.

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