Haruna Abdullahi, a riot policeman, has said Suleiman Dauda, his superior, identified the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) operatives before they were shot dead by soldiers, commanded by Tijjani Balarabe, an army captain.
He said the soldiers killed three policemen and two civilians shortly after the detectives were introduced to them.
Abdullahi said he had been 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 said Dauda told them the occupants were policemen and not kidnappers as they had said.
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.
Abdullahi said this in a 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, The Punch reports.
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“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 N106.3 million 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 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.