Where is Kidnap kingpin Wadume?: 4 months past yet no court martial for soldiers who killed policemen and civilians

Forgotten case of notorious kidnapper Wadume
Forgotten case of notorious kidnapper Wadume
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By Is­mail Mu­dashir (Abuja) & Ma­gaji Isa Hunkuyi (Jalingo)

Four months af­ter three po­lice­men and two civil­ians were gunned down by sol­diers in Taraba State, the mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties are yet to court martial the sus­pects.

The po­lice­men were killed at a mil­i­tary check­point while con­vey­ing kid­nap king­pin, Hamisu Bala, pop­u­larly known as Wad­ume, who they had ar­rested in his hide­out in Ibi town of the state.

Forgotten case of notorious kidnapper Wadume
Forgotten case of notorious kidnapper Wadume

The po­lice­men were killed at a mil­i­tary check­point while con­vey­ing kid­nap king­pin, Hamisu Bala, pop­u­larly known as Wad­ume, who they had ar­rested in his hide­out in Ibi town of the state.

Sources told Daily Trust that the sus­pected sol­diers, who also wounded five other po­lice of­fi­cers, have not been tried by the mil­i­tary even as the de­lay is height­en­ing con­cern among fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims and sus­pi­cion among col­leagues of the de­ceased in the Nige­ria Po­lice Force (NPF).

In­spec­tor Mark Edi­ale, Sergeants Us­man DanAzumi and Dahiru Musa, and two civil­ians work­ing with the In­tel­li­gence Re­sponse Team (IRT) of the NPF, were killed by the sol­diers along IbiJalingo road in Taraba State, on Tues­day, Au­gust 6, 2019.

Police officers killed by soldiers on notorious kidnapper Wadume saga
Police officers killed by soldiers on notorious kidnapper Wadume saga

The po­lice of­fi­cers were gunned down af­ter they had suc­ceeded in ar­rest­ing Wad­ume, an al­leged kid­nap king­pin who was on their wanted per­sons’ list for months. He was re­port­edly res­cued af­ter the sol­diers had gunned down the cops.

The po­lice of­fi­cers were gunned down af­ter they had suc­ceeded in ar­rest­ing Wad­ume, an al­leged kid­nap king­pin who was on their wanted per­sons’ list for months. He was re­port­edly res­cued af­ter the sol­diers had gunned down the cops.

In a con­fes­sion state­ment af­ter he was re­ar­rested in Kano, Wad­ume had told his in­ter­roga­tors in Abuja that: “The po­lice came to ar­rest me. When they ar­rested me, the army chased af­ter them and opened fire. From there, they (sol­diers) took me to their head­quar­ters and cut off my hand­cuffs and re­leased me. I went back to my house, but the po­lice came to re-ar­rest me.”

In a con­fes­sion state­ment af­ter he was re­ar­rested in Kano, Wad­ume had told his in­ter­roga­tors in Abuja that: “The po­lice came to ar­rest me. When they ar­rested me, the army chased af­ter them and opened fire. From there, they (sol­diers) took me to their head­quar­ters and cut off my hand­cuffs and re­leased me. I went back to my house, but the po­lice came to re-ar­rest me.”

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Wad­ume was re­port­edly res­cued by troops at­tached to 93 Bat­tal­ion, Takum, led by one Cap­tain Ti­j­jani Balarabe.

Where the case stands

A se­cu­rity source told one of our cor­re­spon­dents that the sus­pected sol­diers, who killed the po­lice­men, have not been tried in a mil­i­tary court.

A se­cu­rity source told one of our cor­re­spon­dents that the sus­pected sol­diers, who killed the po­lice­men, have not been tried in a mil­i­tary court.

“The new thing about the Wad­ume saga is that the sol­diers have not been court martialed till date. We were told that they are still in de­ten­tion but this is doubt­ful. What I am sure is that they have not been court martialed,” he said.

Daily Trust re­calls that the Board of In­quiry (BOI) con­sti­tuted to probe the matter had on Oc­to­ber 8, re­leased its re­port and rec­om­mended that the army and po­lice should fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate Cap­tain Ti­j­jani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mo­hammed, Cor­po­ral Bartholomew Obanye, DCO Ibi Po­lice Di­vi­sion, ASP Aon­doona Lor­bee, and Insp. Aliyu Dadje for com­pla­cency.

Daily Trust re­calls that the Board of In­quiry (BOI) con­sti­tuted to probe the matter had on Oc­to­ber 8, re­leased its re­port and rec­om­mended that the army and po­lice should fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate Cap­tain Ti­j­jani Balarabe, Sergeant Ibrahim Mo­hammed, Cor­po­ral Bartholomew Obanye, DCO Ibi Po­lice Di­vi­sion, ASP Aon­doona Lor­bee, and Insp. Aliyu Dadje for com­pla­cency.

The Joint In­ves­tiga­tive Panel set up by the De­fence Head­quar­ters was headed by Rear Ad­mi­ral I.T. Olaiya.

The BOI, in a state­ment by act­ing Di­rec­tor of De­fence In­for­ma­tion, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, also rec­om­mended that fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion be con­ducted on Wad­ume for gun­run­ning and kid­nap­ping.

It was, how­ever, gath­ered that no fur­ther trial had been car­ried out in line with the rec­om­men­da­tion of the probe panel.

When con­tacted yes­ter­day, both po­lice and mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties de­clined to com­ment.

One of our cor­re­spon­dents gath­ered that some of the sus­pected sol­diers are al­ready mov­ing freely, height­en­ing sus­pi­cion that they might not be tried for ex­tra-ju­di­cial killing or any other crime.

It was gath­ered that though Cap­tain Balarabe has not gone back to his station in Takum, he re­cently vis­ited his fam­ily in Jos, Plateau State, an in­di­ca­tion that he is no longer in de­ten­tion.

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“The fact that he even vis­ited (Jos) gave most peo­ple con­fi­dence that he is in­no­cent as far as the mil­i­tary is con­cerned. This is be­cause, if they have any sus­pi­cion on the role he played in re­leas­ing Wad­ume, he wouldn’t have been al­lowed to be mov­ing freely,” the source said.

“The fact that he even vis­ited (Jos) gave most peo­ple con­fi­dence that he is in­no­cent as far as the mil­i­tary is con­cerned. This is be­cause, if they have any sus­pi­cion on the role he played in re­leas­ing Wad­ume, he wouldn’t have been al­lowed to be mov­ing freely,” the source said.

How­ever, a mil­i­tary source told our cor­re­spon­dent that the fact that the cap­tain was al­lowed to visit his fam­ily was in­con­se­quen­tial to the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said if at all Cap­tain Balarabe is to be court martialed, there is the pos­si­bil­ity that it would take place in Jos at the 3 Ar­moured

Di­vi­sion, Maxwell Khobe Can­ton­ment, un­der which the 93 Bat­tal­ion of Taraba State falls.

The source also ex­plained that with the ex­cep­tion of coups and other high pro­file cases, the mil­i­tary rarely rushed in con­duct­ing court-mar­tials. “The Nige­rian Army some­times piles as many cases as can be han­dled to be taken all at once to man­age re­sources,” he said.

The source also ex­plained that with the ex­cep­tion of coups and other high pro­file cases, the mil­i­tary rarely rushed in con­duct­ing court-mar­tials. “The Nige­rian Army some­times piles as many cases as can be han­dled to be taken all at once to man­age re­sources,” he said.

Though they are two dif­fer­ent cases, the court martial of the killer sol­diers is be­ing de­layed when com­pared to the trial of the for­mer Gen­eral Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing (GOC) 7 Di­vi­sion, Sokoto, Ha­keem Otiki, a ma­jor gen­eral over al­leged theft of N400 mil­lion by some sol­diers un­der his com­mand.

Daily Trust re­calls that it took the Nige­rian Army only two months to com­mence the court martial of the gen­eral fol­low­ing the July 14, 2019 in­ci­dent in which five sol­diers carted away a con­sign­ment con­tain­ing N400 mil­lion while on an es­cort duty from Sokoto to Kaduna states at the in­stance of Gen­eral Otiki . The trial of the gen­eral com­menced on Septem­ber 17.

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Daily Trust re­calls that it took the Nige­rian Army only two months to com­mence the court martial of the gen­eral fol­low­ing the July 14, 2019 in­ci­dent in which five sol­diers carted away a con­sign­ment con­tain­ing N400 mil­lion while on an es­cort duty from Sokoto to Kaduna states at the in­stance of Gen­eral Otiki . The trial of the gen­eral com­menced on Septem­ber 17.

Wad­ume’s where­abouts

Daily Trust fur­ther gath­ered that Wad­ume’s wives and rel­a­tives vis­ited him re­cently in Abuja. A source close to the fam­ily who pre­ferred not be men­tioned, said Wad­ume is re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal at­ten­tion at the Na­tional Hos­pi­tal, in Abuja, for gun­shot in­juries.

“His man­hood was damaged by the gun­shots he sus­tained dur­ing the al­ter­ca­tion that en­sued be­tween the po­lice op­er­a­tives that ar­rested him and the sol­diers that res­cued him,” the source said.

“His man­hood was damaged by the gun­shots he sus­tained dur­ing the al­ter­ca­tion that en­sued be­tween the po­lice op­er­a­tives that ar­rested him and the sol­diers that res­cued him,” the source said.

The source stated fur­ther that Wad­ume was hit by a bul­let at the check­point where the three po­lice­men and the two civil­ians were killed by sol­diers.

It was gath­ered that there was a ru­mour last month that Wad­ume will be re­leased, prompt­ing youths in Takum to start pre­par­ing for his re­turn.

Daily Trust had ear­lier re­ported how the corpses of the vic­tims were not re­leased un­til af­ter two months.

One of the col­leagues of the slain cops had told Daily Trust that the de­lay in the trial of the sus­pects was “ir­ri­tat­ing.”

One of the col­leagues of the slain cops had told Daily Trust that the de­lay in the trial of the sus­pects was “ir­ri­tat­ing.”

“Our hearts can­not stop bleed­ing as the killers of our de­parted col­leagues have not been pun­ished. It is un­for­tu­nate that the sol­diers are in de­ten­tion but no step has been taken to dis­miss and hand them over to us for pros­e­cu­tion,” an­other po­lice of­fi­cer said, plead­ing not to be named.

Source: Daily Trust

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