• Tony Igele

Untold story of how kidnap kingpin, ‘General’ Ossy was killed •Confusion, doubts reign in the creeks

Untold story of how kidnap kingpin, ‘General’ Ossy was killed •Confusion, doubts reign in the creeks

Tony Igele

If General Ossy, the leader of the dreaded militant group that had been terrorizing residents of Ikorodu, Arepo, Epe, Isheri, Igando and Ogijo areas of Lagos and Ogun States in last three years had known what would befall him while relocating his camp from his stronghold in Ishawo, Ikorodu to Ajapa, Ondo State, he would have had a rethink.

The middle-aged man, who hailed from Arogbo, an Ijaw community in Ondo State, was mistakenly shot dead Monday morning by a member of his gang identified as Idolo, during an attack on a military gunboat patrolling the creeks of Ajapa in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Ossy was said to have led members of his gang on Sunday evening to attack a military check point very close to their camp in Ajapa where they killed a soldier and injured three others. Sources disclosed that he carried out the attack because he believed that the soldiers were preparing to attack his camp. Few hours after the first attack, Ossy reportedly led his gang members in two speed boats with the intention of holding the soldiers hostage. Unfortunately, they ran into a military gunboat patrolling the area and a fierce gun battle ensued.

And the ‘General’ fell

Sources intimated Crime Guard that one of the members of the gang gave a vivid account of how ‘General’ Ossy was eventually killed. According to the gang member, “Idolo was behind Ossy when we started shooting at the gunboat and he shot Ossy from behind and he died. I don’t know how it happened because Ossy had powerful charms that protected him against gun shots, but I heard that the bullet penetrated his body because the gun was fired by one of his men who could possibly have similar charm like his own.”

Meanwhile, Ossy had in January 2017, relocated out of his Ishawo, Ikorodu camp and moved a large number of his men and arms to the creeks in Ajapa, which is very close to his home town Arogbo, following increased military attacks and bombardments on his Ishawo camp. He co-ordinated several kidnappings, including the kidnapping of schoolgirls and staff of the Nigeria Turkish International College, NTIC, where a ransom of N50million was paid as well as the killing of a Nigeria Army Captain and three policemen from his new camp in Ajapa.

Gang members at war

His relocation to Ajapa faced a serious hitch following his frosty relationship with an ex-militant Commander in Ondo State popularly called; ‘Shoot-At-Sight’. Our source in Ondo State, disclosed that Ossy and Shoot-At-Sight have had running battles for long over the control of the creeks. But Shoot-At-Sight, who enjoyed huge support from Tompolo, was said to have chased Ossy and his men out of Arogbo five years ago when he was given waterways security contract by the federal government. Ossy then relocated to Ikorodu, Lagos State with his men and went into pipeline vandalism. Several policemen including those attached to the Inspector- General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, some operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCD, soldiers and some staff of the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, NNPC were killed by Ossy and his men during his pipeline operations.

His exploits

It was gathered that Ossy and his gang ventured into kidnapping in 2014, where they kidnapped several residents of Ikorodu including the owner of a popular hotel in Ishawo and by May 2015, he led members of his gang to rob a bank in Lekki area of Lagos State where they carted away the sum of N25million from the bank, and killed three policemen and a 15-year-old girl. One month after that operation, he also led members of his gang in attacking two other banks in Ijede area of Ikorodu, after which they also attacked the Area N Police Command, Ijede and rained bullets on the station. Two weeks after that operation, Ossy led his men in attacking two other banks in Ipakodo area of Ikorodu and they carted away over N80million. By September of that same year, Ossy and members of his gang ambushed nine operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS who were trailing kidnappers of the wife of The Sun Newspaper’s Deputy Managing Director, Toyin Nwosu, in Ishawo Ikorodu and killed them in cold blood. Several members of the gang, who have been arrested by the police over their atrocities, gave vivid accounts of how Ossy superintended the cold-blooded killing of the DSS operatives whose corpses were yet to be discovered.

Festac operation

While that was still on, Ossy and members of his gang struck in Festac Town and raided two banks in October 2015, where they carted away over N40million.

A woman and her child were killed in that operation, while Ossy and his men escaped through the canal in Festac. One month after, they struck at Agbara area of Ogun State and robbed three banks where they stole over N80million. Three persons were killed during that operation, while operatives of the Inspector- General of Police Special Intelligence Reponses Team, IRT, led by ACP Abba Kyari, arrested several top commanders of the gang, including Clement Abanara, Popularly known as Millions and Kelly Foto, in Sapele and Benin areas of Delta and Edo States. The arrests of these top commanders and several other members of the group slowed down activities of the gang. They were said to have decided to go fully into kidnapping, after Ossy complained that armed robbery was too risky. At that time, Ossy also pleaded for amnesty from the Lagos State Government and offered to work for the state government to end armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes.

Arrested gang members open up

Some of his lieutenants told Crime Guard after their arrest that Ossy was ready to accept amnesty if the state would offer him security contracts just as Shoot-At-Sight and others got same in other states. He also threatened to disrupt economic activities of Lagos and Ogun States should the governments of those states reject his plea.

While Ossy decided to stick to kidnapping, one of his lieutenants who controlled the group’s camp in Ijegemo area of Lagos, Toke Joseph, in March 2016, led members of his gang to Seme area of Lagos State, where they intended to raid some banks and Bureau de Change operators, but unknown to them, the police had got prior information about the operation. They were ambushed and killed during exchange of gunfire. Few days before then, Ossy led his men and they attacked Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu, where they kidnapped three female students of the school. N5million was paid for the release of the girls, while six of the suspects were arrested by operatives of IRT.

Military steps in with operation Awatse

While Ossy and his men carried out several kidnappings within Ikorodu and Ogun state, the Nigeria Military declared an operation code named Awatse , in July 2016, which was aimed at clearing the militants from their camps. Several bombings took place during the exercise, but the militants remained undaunted. They carried out several kidnappings and killings around Ikorodu and other parts of Lagos State. Few days into the operation, Ossy and his men kidnapped the Oniba of Ibaland, Oba Goriola Oseni, from his home and killed several persons. A ransom of N15million was later paid for his release. Ossy continued his reign of terror which also saw him and members of his gang killing several persons who they perceived were giving out information about them to the police. In December 2016, while the Lagos State Government refused to heed to the pleas of the militants to grant them amnesty and security contracts, a member of his group, a dynamite exporter was caught with a large amount of explosives, which he said the group had intended to use to blow up the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos, while two Ak-47 rifles and two cartons of dynamites were recovered from him. When interviewed, the suspect confessed that his group, whose commander he identified as Ossy, were on the final stage of blowing the bridge in order to draw government’s attention to their demands.

Clash of interest

Sources from Ondo State further disclosed that the moment Ossy settled in Ondo State, his former colleague in crime, Shoot-At-Site, who works with security operatives in that state, knew trouble had come and he went into work. One of his duties, as gathered, was to identify the exact location of Ossy’s new camp so he could assist security operatives raid the place. Ossy on his own part, was said to have been on alert owing to the rivalry between him and Shoot-At-Sight. He was said to have given marching orders to his men in Lagos, led by ‘America’ and ‘Stone’ to carry out high profile kidnappings that would enable them raise enough money to buy more arms and ammunition.

Crime Guard gathered that ‘America’, described as the most ruthless member of the gang, led the Turkish Schoolgirls kidnapping, while Ossy was away in Ajapa, and when the N50million ransom was paid, he remitted over N10million to Ossy and shared the rest among members of the group currently based at Ajegunle area of Ikorodu. It was also gathered that while ‘America’ was trying to please his boss, he led the kidnap operation that claimed the lives of an army captain and three policemen. He was also said to have attacked and killed two policemen in Epe area of Lagos where some telecom engineers were kidnapped.

Our source in Ondo State who is very close to the gang narrated that Ossy launched the attack on the military formations he sighted very close to his Ajapa camp believing that Shoot-At-Sight may have led them. He added that he went for the second attack in a bid to ensure that there were no military personnel within the perimeter of his camp. Unfortunately for him, one of his gang members, Peru accidentally shot him dead during the shootout that ensued. They could not retrieve his corpse as it was abandoned at the scene of the shooting.

Confusion envelopes camps

Meanwhile, the reported death of General Ossy has thrown all the militants into confusion in their respective hideouts. Some of them are jittery and in serious panic while others still doubt the possibility of his death based on his reputation in criminal circles because of the potent charms prepared for him by powerful native doctors in the South West and beyond

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