The alleged kidnap kingpin Hamisu Bala Wadume has said that soldiers aided his escape after he was arrested by the police in Ibi, Taraba State.
Wadume narrated in Hausa language how he escaped in a video released yesterday after he was rearrested.
“I am Hamisu Bala, also known as Wadume. Policemen came to Ibi and arrested me; they were taking me away when soldiers chased them and opened fire, leading to the death of some policemen.
“From there, the soldiers took me to their headquarters and cut off the handcuffs on my hands and I ran away. Since then I have been in hiding before I was re-arrested,” he said in the video.
When contacted yesterday to react to the video, Defence spokesman, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu said the defence headquarters is still carrying an investigation on the incident in Ibi.
Earlier in a statement, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) said its operatives re-arrested Wadume in the late hours of Monday, August 19, 2019 in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo, Hotoro area of Kano State.
The statement by Police spokesman DCP Frank Mba recalled that the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since 6th August, 2019 when he escaped.
“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 said.
He added that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, believes that the re-arrest of the suspect will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect.
In Kano, findings revealed that Wadume was arrested at Mai Allo Plaza in a ghetto suburb in Gezawa local government area of the state.
An eye witness, who simply identified himself as Musa Idris, said the man was arrested while trying to buy some goods at the plaza.
“The man came to buy some items at the plaza and he was apprehended by security men. The security men had disguised as customers and entered the shop shortly after Wadume entered.
“Three waited outside the plaza, while three followed him into the plaza. Few minutes later they arrested him and dragged him into a car that was packed few meters away from the plaza. He was whisked away,” he said, adding that many did not know that he was a suspect.
Another resident, Aminu Badamasi said even today (yesterday) a team of plane cloth security men came to the area.
“They came in a black Hilux van and surveyed two streets in the area. I cannot say which house Wadume was residing because he was not arrested in a house. But I heard he is residing in one of these two streets (pointing to the two streets directly facing Mai Allo plaza).”
However, our reporter observed that despite the operation in the area, residents were seen busy conducting their activities.
A man, who allegedly manages most of financial transactions for Wadume, was also arrested by police.
The ‘front,’ said to be an indigene of Ibi, was tracked to his hotel room in Abuja by the police, a source told newsmen.
The source, who spoke to our reporter in confidence, said the arrested man was the one who fronted for Wadume for many years.
“The man bought all the houses, plots, vehicles, farm produce and cows for Wadume. Before the arrest of the man, he was said to have withdrawn huge sum of money and was about to take the money to Wadume in his Kano hideout when the police pounced on him,” the source added.
The source further said another suspected kidnapper said to be working with Wadume was arrested in Takum.
Newsmen gathered that many people were arrested in Takum in the last three days in connection with suspected kidnap kingpin.
The police and army, it was further gathered, are intensifying investigation in Takum, Wukari and Ibi in an effort to fish out criminals.
Police spokesman for Taraba police command DSP David Misal could not be reached for comment as he did not pick calls made by our reporter.
The chairman of APGA in Ibi local government area and seven other people, including an Islamic cleric, were arrested by police in connection with the Wadume case.
The APGA chairman said to be close to Wadume had led the others from Ibi to DCP Abba Kyari over Wadume case.
It was gathered that Abba Kyari ordered for the arrest of APGA chairman and seven others “for attempt to lobby for the wanted suspected kidnapper.”
They were said to be in detention in Abuja.
Kyari, the source added, had told the chief of Ibi during a meeting that innocent persons in Ibi have nothing to fear over the on-going investigation.
Sources in the area also informed newsmen that 14 days after attempt to arrest Wadume no single kidnapping was recorded in the area
One of the sources, Nuhu Noka, said the problem of kidnapping along Wukari-Takum road, which used to be a daily affair, has subsided and no single kidnapping was recorded.
He said four persons held by kidnappers at one of their den near Kofan Amadu along Takum-Wukari road have been freed after about two months in captivity.
It was learnt that residents of Ibi heaved a sigh of relief after the news of Wadume’s arrest spread in the town.
It was also learnt that Abba Kyari and some members of his team left Ibi yesterday with vehicles retrieved from Wadume’s houses in Ibbi.
A source from Ibi said Abba Kyari, along with members of his team, were ferried across River Benue in the town early Tuesday.
He said news of Wadume’s arrest came to residents of Ibi as a relief as Wadume put them on the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
According to the source, everyone is apprehensive and fearful because of the deployment of heavy security in the town and arrests so far made.
He said though there are still high number of military and police officers in the town, news of Wadume’s arrest is a good development and will douse the tension caused by the manhunt of the suspect.
Newsmen report three policemen and one civilian; Inspector Mark Edaile, Sergeant Usman Danzumi, Sergeant Dahiru Musa and Olajide Owolabi, who arrested Wadume, were allegedly killed by soldiers.
The killings are now subject of investigation by both the police and the military.