Notorious ex-militant leader, Mr Thomas Obi Tawo, alias ‘general Iron,’ who was accused of masterminding various acts of terror against his people in Oku-Bushuyu, Boki local government area of Cross River state has been butchered like a ram.
While it is believed that combined forces of vigilante groups from some communities in Boki were the ones who dispatched Iron to the great beyond, some sources said soldiers ambushed and killed the most wanted man in the council area. These could not be independently verified as at press time.
It was gathered that Tawo, who was given amnesty by the Cross River government and appointed Special Adviser on Forest Security, met his end in his country home, Oku-Bushuyu, on Thursday during a gun duel between his boys and either the vigilante groups or soldiers as the case may be. Four of Iron’s boys were said to have been killed alongside the fugitive ‘general.’
Tawo’s impunity and terrorism included burning alive those he considered witches and murder of dissenting voices to his ‘rule’ in the area, but an attempt to murder a PDP Chieftain, Rt Hon Mark Obi, for allegedly refusing to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC, backfired and is believed to be the beginning of Tawo’s downfall.
Recall that Obi, a former Special Adviser to Ayade on administration, escaped death by whiskers last month after receiving several matchet cuts from the dreaded ‘general’ Iron. Soldiers were later drafted to the community to haunt Iron down but before they arrived, Tawo and his boys had escaped. The State government also moved against Tawo by relieving him of his appointment.
Last Monday, military men were withdrawn after a futile attempt to arrest him and shortly after, Tawo resurfaced with higher degree of cruelty. An eyewitness said many had to relocate while the few who left were at his mercy.
Confirming his death, a reliable source in the community, who did not want his name mentioned, 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 stain round his body and forcefully made himself a political leader. He burnt those he perceived were witchcraft, and became a small god overnight.
“He colonised 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.”
Spokesman for the state Police Command, DSP Irene Ugbo, did not take her call when our reporter sought official confirmation of Tawo’s death.
Reports say there was unprecedented celebration in Oku-Bushuyu and environs when the news of Tawo’s death was announced. Photographs of his severed mangled body part has been trending in the media space since Friday morning.