The police have asked the Nigerian Army to explain the whereabouts of the Taraba kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume, allegedly set free by soldiers who reportedly attacked a police team conveying the suspect to Taraba State Police Command headquarters in Jalingo, on Tuesday.
The force also demanded explanations on why the suspect was released, insisting that he could not have escaped with handcuffs from his “military rescuers.”
The Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, had explained in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, that an Intelligence Response Team led by ASP Felix Adolije came under attack from soldiers while taking Wadume to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo.
During the attack, Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeants Usman Danzumi, Dahiru Musa and a civilian died as a result of gunshot injuries, while others sustained gunshot wounds.
The Army in its reaction said the policemen failed to identify themselves to soldiers at a checkpoint on Ibi – Jalingo Road, adding that they mistook the police team for kidnappers.
But Mba in a statement on Thursday, picked holes in the military’s defense, stressing that Wadume who was in restraints could not have escaped from the soldiers after his purported rescue.
He said, “In the best tradition of esprit de Corps, inter-agency harmony and national interest, the Nigeria Police Force would naturally have kept quiet, but it has become imperative to set the record straight by addressing the obvious distortion of facts inherent in the press release by the Nigerian Army.
“The most important question arising from the Nigerian Army statement is: Where is Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume? Wadume is a millionaire kidnapper arrested by the Police but paradoxically treated as a ‘kidnap victim’ by the soldiers and subsequently ‘rescued’ by them. Where is he? Where is the rescued kidnapper?”
The police wondered why Wadume was not taken to the Army Base for documentation and debriefing in line with NA’s standard operating procedure.
“Why were the Police operatives shot at close range even after they had identified themselves as Police Officers on legitimate duty as evident in the video now in circulation?,” the force further asked.
It said that the Army was silent on the source of the alleged distress report or identity of the complainant whose report it claimed informed their decision to engage in the purported chase and rescue operation.