The Defence Headquarters has instructed the 93 Battalion, Takum, in Taraba State to present Hamisu Wadume, an alleged kidnap kingpin, who was reportedly set free by the troops attached to the unit.
The directive was issued as part of the investigation into the killing of the three operatives of the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) – Inspector Mark Ediale and Sergeants Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa – and a civilian by the soldiers of the battalion last week in Ibi, along the Ibi-Jalingo expressway, in Taraba State.
It was learnt that the presentation of the Wadume, according to the Defence Headquarters, would prove that the soldiers were not complicit in his purported release from police arrest and did not deliberately kill the deceased police officers.
“The panel may not commence serious activities until after the Eid-el Kabir break. The Army had directed the battalion in Takum to produce the runaway kidnapper as evidence that its soldiers are not culpable.
“The military will not hesitate to dismiss and court-martial any soldier found to be involved in shady business than allow the reputation of the Army to be toyed with,” a top military source at the DHQ told the Punch.
Also, the soldiers who were alleged to have pulled the trigger against the late policemen have been arrested and moved to Abuja, a top police officer attached to the IGP investigative team confirmed.
He also said some police officers who were early arrivals at the scene of the shooting have gone to Abuja to provide more information to the seven-man investigative panel set-up by the Defence Headquarters.
“The soldiers who killed the three police officers and the two civilians have been moved to Abuja. I can’t tell how many are they, but they were moved alongside some police officers attached to Ibi division and some early callers at the scene who have useful information regarding the incident.
“From the video which we perused during the visit to Ibi, which I believe you also saw on the social media, one of the police officers was trying to identify himself with his ID card that they were police officers, yet they went ahead and shot at him.
“It’s really unfortunate, we have to calm our boys or else we would have had another incident this time police shooting soldiers while we were in Ibi. Five of those killed have been taken to Abuja too for autopsy,” the police officer said.
He also confirmed that the army captain who allegedly ordered the killing of the three policemen was questioned by the IGP investigative team.
The source was, however, unsure of if the captain was also taken to Abuja for questioning.
The army, in a statement issued by Colonel Sagir Musa, its acting Director of Public Relations, had claimed that the police IRT team were mistaken for suspected kidnappers after their vehicle refused to stop for inspection at three checkpoints, before the exchange of fire confrontation at Ibi.
But responding, the police, in a statement issued by Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, accused the army of being economical with the truth, saying the military service’s justification of what it described as the “unprovoked and unwarranted” attack on the police operatives was a distortion of facts.
The force subsequently raised five questions, prominent among them was for the army to disclose the location of Wadume, whom it described as a “millionaire kidnapper” it arrested but was reportedly freed by soldiers attached to 93 Battalion, Takum.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the Defence Headquarters to investigate the incident.
The DHQ had on Friday named a seven-man joint investigation panel, headed by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Olaiya, and has officers drawn from the army, navy, air force, police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency.