Dreaded Militant Leader Forces Bayelsa Monarch into Exile for Three Years, Say Locals

Dreaded militant leader and suspected mastermind behind the killing of 17 military officers at Okuama, a small Island on the Forcados River bank in Delta State, has reportedly ousted a Bayelsa monarch for three years, according to locals.

The suspected mastermind, a militant leader, and his gang members are currently on the run. It is believed that their main operational base is in Igbomotoru, a riverside community in Southern-Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Nigerian Army has launched an extensive search for the fleeing suspects, even reaching as far as Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, where three individuals were apprehended last Tuesday in connection with the soldiers’ killing.

The search for the soldiers’ killers in the serene Okuama has expanded to the creeks, hideouts, and communities in Delta State, Bayelsa, and Rivers states. It may also extend to other states in the Niger-Delta region and beyond if necessary, according to sources.

At Igbomotoru, it was discovered that the mastermind was a feared militant leader, acknowledged as such even by the traditional ruler and retired military officer, HRH Ayibaikie Ofongo, whom the gangsters allegedly drove out of the town.

According to local sources, the banished monarch has been operating from exile for the past three years. One faction involved in the community’s internal leadership crisis reportedly invited the militant leader, who then chased the monarch and his followers out of the community. Since then, the state government and security agencies have struggled to restore order.

Ofongo clashed with the militant leader because he opposed the leader’s involvement in oil bunkering and other criminal activities in the area.

A villager mentioned that the militant leader, who dissolved the ruling class in Igbomotoru, is notorious for oil theft and sabotaging oil facilities, which aligns with the Chief of Defense Staff’s assertion.

With orders to apprehend the killers of the 17 military men, along with their weapons and ammunition, the troops are determined to continue the search until the culprits are brought to justice, leaving them in a somber and focused state.

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