The Nigerian Army on Friday announced the arrest of a suspected militant and his gang who reportedly masterminded the killing of a British missionary in Delta State.
A statement signed by Ibrahim Abdullahi, coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre of the ‘Operation Delta Safe’ said the militants were arrested on Thursday during a seven-day clearance operation led by Apochi Suleiman.
The suspected kidnapper and his gang had in October 2017 allegedly killed Ian Squire, who was carrying out missionary work.
The victim, 56, was one of the four British charity workers kidnapped from Burutu Local Government Area in Delta State by the suspected kidnappers.
Mr. Abdullahi, a major, said the clearance operation was to sanitise the Niger Delta region of militancy and other criminal activities.
“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 7 day clearance operation was initiated by the Commander, JTF, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman to sanitise 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,” he said.
The statement added that the culprit confessed to several criminal acts that led troops to his camp to recover cache of arms and ammunitions 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 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,” the military said.