How soldiers helped my escape, by kidnap kingpin Wadume
It was jubilation yesterday in Taraba State as police re-arrested the suspected kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, who confessed that soldiers assisted him to escape after being nabbed by the slain policemen.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday, 19th August 2019 at his hideout at the Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
The police had re-launched a manhunt for Wadume since 6th August 2019 after the unfortunate incident at Ibi Local Government in Taraba State in which soldiers killed the three police officers who had arrested and were transporting the suspect to Jalingo, leading to his escape.
The police detectives, who were attached to the special anti-kidnap squad of the IGP, and a civilian, were killed when soldiers opened fire on them. The Nigerian Army said the soldiers mistook the policemen for kidnappers while responding to a distress call. The incident sparked a public row between the police and the army.
Mba said the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who lauded the re-arrest of Wadume, commended the operatives for their perseverance and painstaking efforts and expressed profound gratitude to Nigerians for their unparalleled show of love and empathy to the Nigeria Police and the families of the officers and patriotic civilians who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland.
“It is his belief that the re-arrest of the suspect will, no doubt, help in bringing answers to the numerous unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba said.
Wadume, in a video that has gone viral, confessed during interrogation that the soldiers assisted him to escape.
In the 41-second video, Wadume, who spoke in Hausa, said: “I am Hamisu Bala also known as Wadume. The police came to Ibi and arrested me.
“After arresting me, they were taking me away when soldiers went after them and opened fire and some policemen were killed. From there, the soldiers took me to their headquarters and cut off the handcuffs on my hands and I ran away. Since I ran away, I have been hiding until now that the police re-arrested me.”
Jubilation erupted in Ibi Local Council as the news of Wadume’s re-arrest filtered into the towns.
At the time of filing this report, The Guardian learned that those who had fled the community had begun to return to their homes. The people rolled out drums and took over the streets in celebration.
An eyewitness, Abba Aliyu, who spoke to The Guardian on phone, said: “ As I am talking to you now, Ibi town has been overtaken by celebration because of the news we had that Wadume has been re-arrested.
“With this development, those of us who had earlier run away from our villages in Ibi can now confidently return home.”
A leader in the community, who would not want his name in print, said: “If it is true that he has been rearrested, we hope they (security ) would not give him the opportunity to escape again.
“I will not want you to make my name public now because some of us are still doubting the news of his re-arrest. But as soon as I am sure the news is true, then you can go ahead and mention my name in your paper.”
Though police and other security personnel declined to comment on the arrest, as they referred The Guardian to the force headquarters, some of them said they also learned that Wadume had been re-arrested.