Police operativeshave re-arrested a kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, popularly known as Wadume. The suspect had escaped from the custody of the Intelligence Response Team while being taken to the state police headquarters in Jalingo, Taraba State two weeks ago. The fugitive was apprehended at his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State
Police operativeshave re-arrested a kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, popularly known as Wadume.
The suspect had escaped from the custody of the Intelligence Response Team while being taken to the state police headquarters in Jalingo, Taraba State two weeks ago.
The fugitive was apprehended at his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State on Monday night following a massive manhunt launched by the police Special Forces and IRT members in Taraba and the surrounding States.
Wadume was assisted to escape by soldiers after the police team came under attack from troops attached to 93 Battalion, Takum, on August 6.
Three policemen and two Civilians were killed during the incident while five other police officers were injured.
In a viral video released on Tuesday, the suspect admitted that he was released from police custody by soldiers who cut off his handcuffs.
Speaking in Hausa, he said, “My name is Hamisu Bala Wadume. Police came to arrest me, When they arrested me, 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 and police came to re-arrest me.”
It was learnt that Wadume was tracked to Layin Mai Allo Hotoro Community by the police using sophisticated equipment which pinpointed his location through his phone calls to family members and friends while in hiding.
A conspirator in the crime, was discovered to have made over 200 phone calls to the millionaire kidnapper while the station officer was found to have torn off the entry made by the ill-fated IRT team to destroy the evidence indicating that the officers reported the operation to arrest Wadume at the station in line with the police standard operating procedure.
The force Spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement, said Wadume’s arrest, “will no doubt, help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect.”
“The police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, since August 6, 2019, following the unfortunate incident in Ibi, Taraba State, which resulted in the brutal murder of three police officers and two Civilians, and injury to five others.
“The suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his “rescuers” after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs,” Mba stated.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has commended the operatives for the arrest just as he also expressed his gratitude to all Nigerians for “their unparalleled show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the officers and patriotic civilians who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland.”
Findings showed that the Joint Investigation Panel, headed by Rear Admiral IT Olaiya, a former Director of Naval Intelligence, would still continue with its assignment.
The panel was constituted by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, to probe the incident, following a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari asking the military to investigate the killing of three policemen and two civilians in Taraba State by soldiers.
Meanwhile the Defence Headquarters on Tuesday in Abuja confirmed that Wadume’s re-arrest would not stop the probe and investigation of army officers and soldiers identified in the killing of the policemen.
A source at the DHQ, who asked not to be named, noted that the Joint Investigative Panel set up by the DHQ at the instance of President Buhari, would conclude its findings this week and turn them in to the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
The panel, which is headed by Olaiya, has officers drawn from the army, navy, air force, police, the Department of State Services and the Defence Intelligence Agency.
The source said on Tuesday that the probe of the army personnel was ongoing and the arrest of Wadume would “only throw light on the investigations.”
The panel, which was inaugurated on Friday, August 9, had initially been given a one-week deadline, but it could not meet the deadline because of the volume of arrests and interrogations.
The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, was not available for comments.
But, residents of Ibi the home town of Wadume on Tuesday expressed mixed feelings over the suspected kidnapper’s re-arrest.