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Capone: How we ruled the land, sea and abducted expatriates

A 35-year-old self acclaimed cultist, General Karinatei Timidiseghe, has narrated how he and his gang ruled Bayelsa State and abducted foreign sailors on the high sea. The suspect, who said that he is the Capone of his cult group, known as Green Lander Cult in Bayelsa State, was arrested by Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari. Timidiseghe said that he rose through the ranks in the cult group, to become the number one. The suspect, who is married with six children, said that after he left secondary school, he started doing menial jobs.

He then took to selling drugs and thereafter joined the Green Lander Confraternity. His atrocities and notoriety grew until he became known in the whole of Bayelsa State. It was gathered that the gang’s Waterloo started after Godbless Oruboro was arrested on September 25, 2020, in a joint operation between Operatives of IRT, Bayelsa State Police and Naval Commands. According to security agents, Oruboro was the most senior commander in a gang headed by one Akuro, who was also into kidnapping and sea piracy.

Akuro’s criminal syndicate has reportedly collected over $1,300,000 in ransoms as at August 27, 2020. Oruboro was alleged to have masterminded numerous kidnappings of expatriates as well as the hijacking of many oil vessels along the Gulf of Guinea and Ghana Deep Sea. Akuro and Oruboro were alleged to be responsible for the kidnap of three Russians, Ukrainian and an Equatorial Guinean on May 20, 2020, at Port Malabo.

The police said: “The gang negotiated with an EG Shipping company for payment of $1.7million dollars. “The suspects confessed to owning three AK47 rifles, which Akuro kept safely in his camp at Creek 45 Degema, Rivers State.” Similarly on November 20, 2020, other suspects were tracked and arrested. They were believed to be suspected sea pirates and criminal associates of Akuro and Oruboro.

Speaking further on his activities, Timidiseghe said: “I also submitted 15 locally made guns during the third face of the Federal Government amnesty programme. “I sold cocaine to several cultists, sea pirates and kidnappers operating within Southern Ijaw.

“I got involved in these crimes because I had so many children and needed to care for all of them. “It was my friend, Ajhil, who introduced me to trading in cocaine. The person selling the drugs used to send it to me through commercial buses, from Lagos State. “I believe I was arrested because I communicated with one Tony, who is a kidnapper and a sea pirate. “Tony called me because the engineer working for him at his building site was missing.

“He learned that the said engineer was kidnapped by some cult boys, and because I was the head of Green Lander Cult Group in Bayelsa State, he came to me for help. “He asked that I used my position as Capone to rescue his kidnapped engineer. “It was a week after that conversation that I was arrested and police tagged me as Tony’s gang member.” Another suspect, a 25-year-old Tony Ebiyepade, has two wives and four children and had no formal education. He introduced himself as a fisherman. Ebiyepade said that he didn’t know why he was arrested until he got to the police station.

“It was when I got to the police station I was told police arrested me for being involved in kidnapping and sea piracy. “I started sea piracy and kidnapping operations when Niger Delta youths were protesting and bombing oil facilities. “What led me into criminal activities was the rape of my mother and two sisters by militants. “I took to crime to retaliate what they did to my family. I have been in kidnapping and sea piracy since 2007.”

Ebiyepade said that he was introduced to kidnapping and sea piracy by one Japas. He identified some of his gang members as Ebimor, Kemen, Good, Tari Emos, Boma, Ijabra and some other boys from Delta State. He revealed that the gang had at least eight AK47 rifles and two loaded magazines. The suspect further said: “I have participated in different kidnapping operations, but I can only recall four. “The first operation was in 2007, where we nabbed 10 foreigners. We seized their ship and drove them to Ebono River in Calabar, Cross River State.

“We kept them inside their ship, hidden in the creeks for a week till a sum of N100 Million was paid. “Another operation, which I can easily recall, happened in Lagos State axis. We drove to a creek in Bayelsa.

“The vessel was loaded and when we got to Bayelsa, we negotiated with the owner of the vessel. “At least N45 million ransom was paid, and we then released the vessel, with the content intact.” According to him, in his first kidnap operation, he scooped N8 million and got N3.7 million in the second operation. He remembered that another abduction operation was that of some sailors.

Ebiyepade said: “The colleagues of those sailors didn’t waste time in paying for their ransom and it was because they came for an illegal trade. “They paid N35 million before we released them. “Victims of my fourth operation were Nigerians; we picked the captain of the vessel and two other persons.

“The owner of the vessel had to come and pay the ransom or end up losing both his men and vessel. “Another operation was the abduction of four Americans, but I did not participate in it. “I heard about it after I went to my community and met Big Joe in a bar. He and others were discussing that they had just released the Americans, when I walked in.

“I then asked what the operation was about; he gave me details of the abduction. I didn’t participate, but I heard about it. “It was the money I made from kidnapping that I used in constructing an illegal oil bunker dump in Rivers State. “I built several houses in Bayelsa and also bought motor saw for my timber business.”

Oruboro, 35, who is married with two children, also confessed to having gone into illegal oil bunkering in 2002. He said those were in the heydays of the Niger Delta uprising. During that period, he worked with one General Lapotol, with their camp located within the Gbara area of Bayelsa State. “I accepted amnesty in 2009, but had not been enlisted for any training. However, I’m currently receiving the amnesty stipends from the Federal Government.

“I’m also getting pipeline security stipends from pipeline security. I later joined Akuro’s gang. “The gang is into illegal bunkering, sea piracy and kidnapping. “I started by buying illegal refined products from Akuro, who specialised in kidnapping expatriates and hijacking oil vessels.

“During my visits to Akuro’s camp, I saw some of the expatriates he had kidnapped. “He kept them in his camp, located at Camp 45 in Bile Island, in Rivers State. “I have been working with Akuro in the last four months and have participated in four kidnappings with his gang. “In one of the operations, we abducted white men and collected huge sums of money as ransom. “There was an operation, where we collected N70 million as ransom. In another operation, we collected N40 million from another set of expatriates.

“I don’t know how much was paid on the last kidnapping operation because I was arrested. “I was scared that policemen were looking for me and had to move my wife and children out of Port Harcourt, Rivers State to Enugu State. I was arrested at the park,” he said.

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