By Emma Amaize, Samuel Oyadongha, Perez Brisibe, Emma Una & Chancel Sunday
BOMADI—THE infamous Bayelsa State bandit and kidnap kingpin, Kareowei, pursued to Delta State by the Joint Task Force after he allegedly beheaded a Department of State Services, DSS, operative and killed about four soldiers, surrendered to heavily-armed soldiers, who ambushed him at Torugbene community, Burutu Local Government Area, Delta state, yesterday.
It was gathered that some informants alerted the security agents about the presence of the wounded militant leader after he sneaked into town for treatment of his injured shoulder and leg.Police
Vanguard learned that about 2,000 soldiers, who were in search of Kareowei and his gang, cordoned off Torugbene community in the early hours of yesterday, following information that he was taking refuge in the town.
This is just as the severed head of an Inspector of Police killed on Christmas Day was recovered from a shrine by the Police in Cross River State, with his killers arrested and paraded, yesterday, along with other suspects.
Bomadi, the headquarters of Bomadi Local Government, Delta State, and other adjoining riverine communities erupted in jubilation on the news of the capture of the dreaded Kareowei, who was reportedly pleading for mercy in a military vehicle.
Joyous residents hailed the military convoy, as they conveyed Kareowei to the Task Force’s headquarters at Agbara-Otor in Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State, from where he was taken to Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of an ex-militant leader and member of the Delta Waterways and Security Committee, Bonny Gawei, abducted, last Wednesday, when he escorted a DSS operative to Kareowei’s camp were still unknown yesterday.
Attempts to get comment from authorities of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, proved abortive as the spokesman, Major Ibrahim Abdul, neither picked calls to his phone nor responded to messages to him.
Kareowei had, last Wednesday, cut-off the head of a DSS operative and paraded the community with the head, while the ex-militant leader, who escorted the operative, was taken hostage.
The DSS operative was not armed when he went to his camp, as Kareowei demanded that anybody coming to his den should come without a weapon.
He and his boys shot dead about four soldiers in an ensuing battle, where he sustained injuries and fled his camp at Ndoro, which came under military bombardment two days ago.
‘He begged soldiers not to kill him’
A community leader told Vanguard: “He had access to sophisticated phones and was making contact right there in the bush.
“He pleaded that he would surrender when he got information that soldiers arrested the herbalist that was treating him in the village and almost beat him to death.
“We heard that he pleaded with soldiers not to kill him if he surrendered to them. He was also reported to have pleaded with the military to allow an official from the Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, DWLSC, to visit him in his hideout to finalise arrangements for him to surrender.”
An insider, who confided in Vanguard on the mode of Kareowei’s arrest, said: “He knew his end was near and was begging the military all through yesterday to exercise a little patience to allow the chairman to arrive Torugbene for the final deal.
His words: “Kareowei begged from his hideout throughout yesterday that the military should not kill him, because he was ready to come out and surrender to them. He also pleaded that he was waiting for the official to come to Torugbene.
“The official arrived Torugbene yesterday around 3.30p.m., but before his arrival, there was chaos in the community as the soldiers started brutalising the villagers, not even sparing the community chairman, with the allegation that the community connived with Kareowei to keep him in his hideout.
“This morning (yesterday), the DWLSC official went to meet him in his hideout and after a while, he came out begging the military to temper justice with mercy, as he was already granted amnesty in 2009 under General Boyloaf’s camp.
“After a while, Kareowei came out of his hideout with both hands in the air.”