…killer soldiers, commander held
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has ordered the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum, Taraba State, to produce notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume who was allegedly set free by soldiers from the Battalion who killed three policemen and a civilian in the state on Tuesday, a top military source at the headquarters said.
Three officers of the elite police IRT team, noted for its exploits in bursting kidnap syndicates, Inspector Mark Ediale and Sergeants Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa, including a civilian were on Tuesday shot dead by the erring soldiers after they had arrested Wadume and were taking him away on handcuffs.
Wadume who is now on the run was said to have been set loose by the soldiers.
“The Army had directed the battalion in Takum to produce the runaway kidnapper as evidence that its soldiers are not culpable,” the source said.
Noting that, “The military will not hesitate to dismiss and court-martial any soldier found to be involved in shady business than allow the reputation of the Army to be toyed with.”
Meanwhile, the captain who ordered the killing of the policemen and the civilian was cross-examined at the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, in Taraba State, the DHQ said.
The DHQ had on order of President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday named a seven-man joint investigation panel, headed by Rear Admiral Ibikunle Olaiya, which has officers drawn from the army, navy, air force, police, the Department of State Services and the Defence Intelligence Agency to probe into the incident.
A top police officer attached to the IGP investigative team disclosed that the Army Captain from 93 Ada Barracks Takum who ordered the killings was called for questioning during the visit of the team.
The arrested soldiers involved in the shootings were initially detained in Takum before they were moved to Abuja.
Meanwhile, following the killing, Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, directed troops on internal security duties to be cautious in their dealings with members of the police force and admonished travelling military personnel to do so in mufti in order to avoid confrontations with policemen.
The COAS who gave the directive in a letter dated August 9 and copied to Army formations nationwide accused the police of making inflammatory comments in the social media which he said was capable of inciting the rank and file of the Nigeria Police to “exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA personnel.”
The letter with reference number AHQDAIOPS/G3/240/232 written on behalf of the COAS by Brig. Gen. F. Omoigui was titled, ‘Need for troops to be circumspect in dealing with members of the Nigeria Police.’
“In the aftermath of the unfortunate incident involving troops of 93 bn, Takum and members of the Intelligence Response Team of the NPF at Ibi LGA of Taraba State on August 6, 2019, inciting and inflammatory comments are being made by the NPF on the regular and social media platforms,” it read in part.
“This is capable of inciting the rank and file of the NP to exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA personnel. Accordingly, all troops on IS (Internal Security) duty as well as personnel travelling in and out of uniform are to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation.”
“Consequently, formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings with members of the NP in view of this development. Troops travelling on pass are to endeavor to do so in mufti.”