BY MIKE ODIEGWU
The suspected leader of the gang of gunmen who murdered 11 policemen at Lobia creeks, Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, has been arrested.
The leader identified as Jackson Fabouwei, 25, was paraded in Yenagoa, the state capital, at the Sector 2 Headquarters of the Joint Task Force, codenamed, Operation Pulo Shield.
Fabouwei known in the underworld as Jasper Boro Junior was arrested on Thursday by operatives of the JTF and other security agencies around Ekebiri, close to Azuzuama.
Fabouwei admitted leading a group of seven gunmen that killed 11 policemen who were on an escort duty.
The victims were drafted by the former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kingsley Omire, to go and provide security at the funeral of the mother of an ex-militant leader, Mr. Kile Torughedi, popularly known as the Young Shall Grow.
Torughedi, who was the commander of the South Wing of MEND from 2002 till 2009 when he embraced the amnesty for repentant militants, is currently serving as the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Marine Waterways Security.
On their way, 15 of the policemen travelling on a wooden engine boat were allegedly ambushed by Fabouwei and his gang who killed 11 of them after a gun battle that lasted for over 40 minutes.
While three of the policemen escaped the attack, one was kidnapped by the gunmen, who were said to have later collected N1m ransom to set him free.
The Chief of Staff, JTF, Col. Farouk Yahaya, who paraded the suspect, said JTF and other security agencies had been working round the clock to bring the killers to justice.
He said Fabouwei was arrested through sound intelligence gathering by the JTF and other security agencies.
As part of efforts to round up the killers, he said JTF conducted series of operations in Lobia, Ukubie, Ezetu, Ekeni and Azuzuama.
‚ÄúThis led to the arrest of some of the suspects, the destruction of their hideouts and recovery of some of their arsenals.
‚ÄúThese JTF operations destabilised the criminals and put them on the run while the deployment of troops in Azuzuama and Loboa made those areas uncomfortable for them,‚Äù he said.
He said the JTF would hand over the suspect to the police for further investigation and prosecution.