Molly Kilete, Abuja
Contrary to speculations that soldiers of 23 Brigade who took part in the killing of five police officers from the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) on duty in Taraba State have been moved to Abuja, the suspects are still in their areas of responsibility, Daily Sun has gathered.
It was also gathered that the soldiers who are currently being interrogated by the investigative team from the Defence Headquarters and the police had earlier been interrogated by personnel from the Directorate Of Military Intelligence (DMI) from 3 Division, Jos.
This is just as the Commander, 23 Brigade Yola, Brigadier-General Sani Gambo Mohammed, has relocated to Ibi, on the orders of the Army headquarters where the incident took place.
Military sources told Daily Sun in Abuja that the soldiers would only be moved to Abuja on the orders of President Muhamadu Buhari if he wants to see them, otherwise the proper thing to do is to move them to their division for further investigations.
Military sources, who do not want to be mentioned in print because they are not authorized to speak on the matter, said: “The soldiers have not been moved to Abuja; they are still in Taraba. They might be moved to Abuja after they finish everything, which is under a probability.
“But moving them again would depend on the recommendations of the panel if they are found guilty, and if they are to be punished. But even if they are to be punished, it has to be the division that they are under which is 3 Division, and not the army headquarters because army headquarters is not a trying unit. It is only Army Headquarters Garrison and they are not under Army Headquarters Garrison.
“They can only be tried under the division which they are and that unit is under 23 Brigade, Yola. So, if there is anything, they would be charged and tried by the unit, not Army Headquarters.
“As we speak, all the investigating teams are in Takum, Taraba State because that is where they will take statements and do the interrogation. So, if they bring the soldiers to Abuja, who are they going to interrogate in Takum?
“The team set up by the CDS has moved to Takum, and the brigade commander just left Takum yesterday and all of them are there, including the one set up by the police. They will collect statements from those soldiers including the commanding officer.”
Meanwhile, the Army Headquarters is said to be making plans to commence the rotation of troops, especially those in Taraba State as a result of the incident.
It was gathered that the army investigative team is not taking the allegations made by the police over the disappearance of the suspected kidnap kingpin.
Military sources told Daily Sun that the suspect, who was rescued by the soldiers, was taken to a house where his hand and leg cuffs were removed and he was set free.
It was also gathered that while the captain, who is the head of the unit at Ibi, had a very good relationship with Wadume, he may have acted on orders from his superiors, who are yet to be identified as confessional statements from soldiers so far interrogated on the matter was said to have revealed.
It was gathered that the investigating panel is working round the clock to unravel the mystery surrounding the brutal murder even though retired police officers have raised the fears that the team comprising mostly military officers and just one from the police may be biased with their final report at the end of the day.
However, the killings have continued to generate controversy as some army officers, who spoke to Daily Sun, said the CO ought to have been briefed about the IRT operation because of the security situation in the area where arms are easily transported by militia groups.
“If you know the security situation in Ibi, Wukari and Takum, you know they have been fighting for a very long time now and people move arms within that area. So for you to see somebody with arms in that area, if not fully identified, then it becomes another thing,” the source said.