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Vigilante groups in C’River kill notorious ex-militant leader

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

Combined forces of vigilante groups from some communities in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State have reportedly killed a notorious ex-militant leader, Mr. Thomas Obi Tawo popularly known as ‘Alias General Iron,’ who was accused of masterminding various acts of terror against his people.

Orient Daily gathered that Mr. Tawo, who was given amnesty by the Cross River government and appointed Special Adviser on Forest Security, was shot dead in his country home, Oku-Bushuyu, during a gun duel between his boys and the vigilante groups.  Three of his boys were also said to have been killed during the encounter.

According to reports, Mr. Tawo’s recorded impunity and terrorism acts include burning alive those he considered witches and murdering of dissenting voices to his ‘rule’ in the area. Unfortunately for him, an attempt to murder a PDP Chieftain, Rt. Hon Mark Obi, for allegedly refusing to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, backfired and formed his eventual misfortune.

Recall that Hon. Obi, a former Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on administration, escaped death by whiskers in July this year after receiving several matchet cuts from the dreaded Tawo. Soldiers were later drafted to the community to haunt him down but before they arrived, he had escaped with his boys.

After several unsuccessful attempts to arrest him, the military men were withdrawn last week and shortly after, Tawo resurfaced with a higher form of cruelty.

An eyewitness who refused to disclose his identity said that many residents had to relocate while the few who remained in the community were at Tawo’s mercy.

Meanwhile, the State government had already relieved him of his appointment.

Confirming his death, a reliable source in the community said, “I can confirm to you that ‘General Iron’ has been killed. He died today during a gun battle in the bush with vigilante groups in the community. The vigilante had vowed to pay ‘Iron’ with his own coins anytime he resurfaced.

“Iron was deadly. He had blood stains round his body and forcefully made himself a political leader. He burnt those he perceived were witchcraft and became a small god overnight.

“He colonized the oil palm estate to his private entity. He never wanted any opposition or any rival around his neighbourhood. He became a commander of a militia and threatened to kill a majority of the people in his area.

 “His boys were brandishing AK47 at will without any confrontation. He threatened the peace of the entire Boki Local Government Area. He banished some residents of his community from their ancestral homes. The guy was simply notorious.”

However, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state, DSP Irene Ugbo, did not answer her call when our reporter sought official confirmation of Tawo’s death.

But reports by eyewitnesses say there have been unprecedented celebrations in Oku-Bushuyu and its environs when the news of Tawo’s death was filtered.

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