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Police Hunt for Wadume, Comb Taraba Forest

Police operatives combing the forests in Taraba State have yet to get a lead on the whereabouts of kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume, who was allegedly set free by soldiers of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Taraba State, last Tuesday.

Punch reports that the special forces and the Intelligence Response Team operatives deployed in the state had been combing different forests in Taraba and the surrounding states since Wednesday without luck.

Wadume was being conveyed in an unmarked bus to the Taraba State Police Command in Jalingo by IRT operatives when they were attacked by soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo Road.

Three officers — Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeants Usman Danzumi, Dahiru Musa and an unidentified civilian, were killed by the soldiers, while others were wounded during the incident.

According to reports, undercover operatives were also gathering intelligence in Wadume’s community, Ibi, where many suspects had been apprehended by the police and taken to Jalingo for profiling and interrogation.

Following speculations that Wadume might have fled the country, sources explained that the Nigeria Police Force might solicit the assistance of Interpol to track down the kidnap kingpin.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the slain policemen and a civilian have been brought to Abuja and deposited in a morgue.

Four coffins containing their corpses were taken from a morgue in Jalingo and brought to Garki General Hospital, where they were deposited in the morgue on Sunday.

The Nigerian Army had claimed that the IRT team, led by ASP Felix Adolije, were attacked by soldiers because they failed to stop at three military checkpoints. But this was dismissed by the police, which demanded the whereabouts of the kidnap suspect allegedly set free by the soldiers.

The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, confirmed the transfer of the bodies to Abuja, but declined to provide information on the manhunt for Wadume.

When asked why the civilian who died in the attack was not identified, Mba explained that the police wanted to be sure of  his identity before disclosing his name.

“We also want to formally notify his family before releasing his name to the public,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprovided has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to institute a judicial panel of inquiry into the killing of the policemen.

In a statement on Sunday signed by the Executive Director of the CENTREP, Mr Oghenejabor Ikimi, the group said the recommendations of the panel would help deter a recurrence in the future.

Ikimi blamed the clash leading to the killing of the victims on the lack of synergy in the nation’s security agencies.

He added that the lack of synergy was responsible for the growing and worsening insecurity in the country.

The statement accused the Federal Government of trivialising the incident, adding that the orders given by the Presidency to the Defence Headquarters to investigate the killings was not enough.


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