The dreaded Bayelsa State bandit and kidnap kingpin, Kareowei, cornered in a community in Delta State by soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF), after he had 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 the town for the treatment of his injured shoulder and leg.
It was 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.
It was jubilation galore yesterday, as Bomadi, the headquarters of Bomadi Local Government, Delta State, and other adjoining riverine communities erupted in a joyous mood , following the news of the capture of the dreaded Kareowei, who reportedly pleaded 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 comments from authorities of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, code-named ”Operation Delta Safe”, proved abortive as the spokesman, Major Ibrahim Abdul, neither picked calls to his phone nor responded to messages .
Kareowei had, last Wednesday, cut-off the head of a DSS operative and paraded the community with it, 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 had decreed that visitors to his den should not come with weapons. He and his boys, were alleged to have 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 newsmen: “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 had arrested the herbalist that was treating him in the village and had beaten him to the point of 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 finalize arrangements for him to surrender.”
An insider, who spoke on 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 became restless and started brutalizing the villagers, not even the community chairman was spared.
They made allegations of complicity against the residents of the community , and helping to hide Kareowei .
“ This morning (yesterday), the DWLSC official went to meet him in his hideout and after a while, he ( chairman) 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.”