A neighbour to Bala Hamisu (Wadume), Aminu Ahmed, said the troops commanded by Capt. Tijjani Balarabe killed three policemen and two civilians attached to the Intelligence Response Team to facilitate Wadume’s escape from their custody.
Ahmed, an indigene of Ibbi, Taraba State, also said he knew that Wadume had been involved in kidnapping before he was arrested by the IRT team on August 6, 2019.
The 22-year-old artisan also said Wadume’s friends and his elder brother, identified as Awolu, made efforts to secure soft-landing for the kidnap kingpin after he was re-arrested and brought to Abuja.
Ahmed, in his statement dated August 22 to the police in Abuja, clarified that he was arrested for reaching out to highly placed politicians and officials to intervene on behalf of the kidnap suspect.
He said, “I am Hamisu’s (Wadume’s) neighbour in Ibbi; I know he was working in the local government and he was into fishing. I was arrested because I was trying to find a solution to Hamisu’s problem. He has given me a motorcycle and that’s why I was trying to find a solution to his problems.
“I know that the policemen were killed by the soldiers in order for Hamisu to escape. I never participated in kidnapping with him, and he has never given me money since I know him; I heard he was once involved in kidnapping before the latest incident.”
Wadume had identified 19 accomplices, including Balarabe and nine other soldiers, as members of his gang. They are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah, Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, Private Mohammed Nura, Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon, Corporal Markus Michael, L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra, Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.
Despite their indictment by the Joint Investigation Panel set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, the military authorities have refused to hand over the soldiers for trial.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had curiously withdrawn the 16 counts levelled against the troops attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State.