The Army Captain with the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum, Taraba State, who was alleged to have ordered soldiers in Ibi, to ‘kill’ police operatives attached to the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and rescue wanted kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Balla, alias Wudume, had series of phone chats with the kidnapper, police investigation has revealed.
The Police disclosed that telephone conversations between the kidnap kingpin, Wadume and the Captain , were about 191 within a space of one month, from July 9, 2019 to August 6, 2019.
A police source who disclosed this said the police authorities believed that the army captain might have been providing cover for the kidnapper, who is said to have received hundreds of millions as ransom from his victims.
The Army Captain is undergoing interrogation at the Defence Headquarters Abuja, alongside five other Army personnel, who were alleged to have taken part in the killing of the three policemen: Inspector Mark Ediale and Sergeants Usman Danzumi, Dahiru Musa, as well as a civilian in Taraba on Tuesday last week.
The arrested soldiers were said to have confessed that they received orders to attack the policemen from the captain, whom they said informed them that Wadume had been kidnapped and was being transported in a silver-coloured Toyota Hiace Bus.
The notorious kidnapper, Wadume, it was gathered, has been on the wanted list of the Police IRT for running a kidnap syndicate in the state, from March 2019, when it received a petition from one Sheriff Umar of Kirikinua South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The petitioner had reported that his cousin, Usman Mayo was kidnapped on the 15th of February, 2019 at Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State and his kidnapper demanded the sum of N200 million as ransom for his release.
The family, it was said, eventually negotiated and paid the sum of N85 million first, on March 11, 2019, but the abductee was not released. The family was made to pay another N15 million, on March 16, 2019, making a total sum paid to the kidnappers N100 million and the kidnappers refused to release their victim insisting that that the family had to pay the N200million.
The family still had to pay an additional N20million, and was said to have reported to the police and the IRT was drafted to investigate and track down the suspects behind the kidnapping and rescue the victim.
The police team discovered during investigations that Wadume had strong links to the kidnappers, who got N120 million as ransom from their victim.
A police source also revealed to Vanguard that it investigation showed that Wadume, had bought several AK-47 rifles from a notorious trans-border arms dealer, Ojomo Adebowale Gbenga, who was arrested in May 2019, by operatives of the IRT for supplying heavy arms and ammunition to kidnappers and armed robbers.
45-year-old Ojomo, said to be a major arms dealer in the South-Western part of the country, made startling revelations about the fleeing Wadume during an interview.
Ojomo, who was earlier in the year paraded by police authorities over his criminal activities and later detained in Lagos, told Vanguard that he met Alhaji Wadume four years ago in Benue State and had been selling arms to him under the guise of using them to fight terrorist Fulanis.
Ojomo confessed that he got to know Wadume through his business partner, Moses in Benue State, and he told him that he needed rifles to fight herdsmen who were killing farmers in his community. The gun runner explained that he got all the rifles, which he sold to Wadume and his friends from Burkina Faso, Mali and Libya and he said he sold the arms to them because they told him that they were having community clashes.
He further disclosed: “I started selling fire arms since 1993 after my secondary school. I worked with a company that deals on licensed arms in 1993 and I left in 1996 and went to school but, I linked up with arms dealers in Ibadan, which is the headquarters of arms dealing in the south western part of the country. I started selling automatic firearms which is prohibited, then one of my friends who is now late, Moses led me to the north.
“He took me to Benue State and I sold arms to several people, including Alhaji Hamisu (Wadume). He came to me through Moses’ contacts and they identified him as a don. You know arms dealing is a cartel business. I knew very little about him and I sold eight rifles to him in 2015 and in January 2019, he called again and told me that he needed 10 rifles, but I had only six and because he was in hurry, I sold them to him at N800,000 each, and the bullets for N350,000 per can. But after my arrest, I gave information about him to the police. It was while in detention I heard he has been arrested.”
Meanwhile, a Police Inspector who was accused of informing the Army that operatives of the Police IRT visited Ibi community in Taraba state, last week to effect the arrest of the suspected kidnap kingpin has been arrested.