A riot policeman, Sergeant Haruna Abdullahi, serving with the Mobile Police 67, Takum, Taraba State, has said that his superior, Insp. Suleiman Dauda, identified the operatives of the Intelligence Response Team to the soldiers who attacked them, The PUNCH reports.
He said the soldiers killed three policemen and two civilians shortly after the detectives were introduced to them (the soldiers).
Abdullahi stated that he was at a checkpoint on the Takum-Ibbi Road on August 6, 2019, when the armed soldiers in a Toyota Hilux van approached the roadblock.
He stated that the troops in a Hilux van claimed they were chasing after some kidnappers but the officer in-charge, Dauda, informed the soldiers that the occupants were police officers and not kidnappers’ as alleged.
The officer said the soldiers returned to the checkpoint with a suspected kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (aka Wadume,) shortly after the IRT team passed through the checkpoint with the suspect in their custody.
The riot cop stated these in his statement to the Joint Investigation Panel set up by the Chief of Defence Staff to probe the killing of the policemen and their civilian assistants.
Abdullahi, in his statement dated August 17, 2019, said, “I was on duty at Ibbi checkpoint when I saw a Hummer bus coming from Ibbi town and the vehicle stopped at our checkpoint. The occupants identified themselves as police personnel attached to the IRT on special assignment and passed.
“Immediately after, I saw an Army Hilux van with some soldiers inside, shouting at us. (Soldiers in) one Peugeot behind the Army vehicle are saying, ‘kidnappers.’ Then, my officer in-charge, Insp. Suleiman Dauda, told them that they (IRT operatives) were not kidnappers, but police personnel, but they did not stop.
“After some time, the Army vehicle came back with some people lying at the back with bloodstains and some civilians on motorcycles shouting that the military had rescued their boss (Wadume).”
The IRT operatives had arrested Wadume for allegedly killing one Usman Garba (aka Mayo), after receiving N106.3m ransom, but they were attacked by the soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, commanded by Capt. Tijjani Balarabe. Wadume, who was in handcuffs, was set free by the troops.
The kingpin had in his statement identified 10 soldiers and nine men as accomplices. They include Balarabe; Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon and Corporal Markus Michael, L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.
The police had arraigned 20 suspects involved in the crime, but the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), withdrew the charges against the troops.