Molly Kilete, Abuja
More revelations have emerged on how three police officers from the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) were killed by soldiers in Taraba State on August 6.
This is just as Daily Sun authoritatively gathered that the commanding officer of 93 Battalion Ibi, Captain Balarabe Tijani, employed a welder in the community to destroy the handcuffs and leg irons on suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala Wadume, before setting him free.
The captain, who is said to have been interrogated by the panel from Defence Headquarters (DHQ), was said to have contracted a welder to remove the leg irons and handcuffs from his alleged friend after the divisional police officer (DPO) in charge Ibi command, Aondona Augustine Iorbee, whom he contacted for the keys told him he did not have them.
Top police sources told Daily Sun in Abuja that aside from seeking the keys to the cuffs from the DPO, Captain Tijani also contacted the station’s Crime Officer, Inspector Aliyu Dadje, who also said he did not have the keys.
According to our source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as he was not supposed to speak to the press, the hand and leg cuffs were destroyed in the house of the captain, where he took the kidnap kingpin after rescuing him from the IRT operatives.
It was gathered that after shooting and killing some of the detectives, they were all moved to the military base in the town alongside the kidnap kingpin before he was eventually moved to the house of the commanding officer.
Police sources claimed that all the members of the IRT team would have been killed, but for the timely arrival of some police officers from the office of area commander as well as some senior army officers who arrived the military base on time.
It was also gathered that, if the wounded officers had got medical attention on time, the death toll would have been minimal as the deceased were said to be alive at the time they were taken to the military base.
According to the source: “What happened was that the captain actually wanted to kill all the team members and destroy all the evidence in the case.
“After the shooting, the army carried all the bodies and the wounded to their base and even wanted to kill those that were still alive but, at that point, the news had filtered to the police and the IGP directed the Area Commander to go to the army base and so he arrived there with some army officers just on time, otherwise everybody would have been wiped out.
“The captain did not just stop there, because, after the killing, he took Wadume, his friend, to his house and sought the keys from both the DPO who was on leave and crime officer, who didn’t have the keys, that was when he contacted the welder.
“The DPO happens to be a very good friend of the captain and they live in the same neighbourhood. After destroying the leg and handcuffs, the captain proceeded to destroy other major evidence that would link him to the crime.
“First, he called the station’s crime officer, Inspector Aliyu Dadje, who is now in police custody and ordered him to go and destroy every evidence comprising the record of the official booking of the IRT officers to create an impression that they came for the operation without booking.
“The crime officer, who is being interrogated, told detectives how he was threatened by the captain who said if he did not do what he wanted him to do, he would be killed. So, he went and tore the page where the entry was made on the routine diary. But, because they had shed innocent blood, they were not able to destroy everything , as police detectives have recovered all these things.
Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said, “I am not the spokesman for the probe panel. You should contact the panel for clarification on the matter.”