More revelations are emerging from the probe into the killing of three operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team by soldiers of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum, Taraba State on August 6, 2019.
Those killed by the Soldiers were Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeants Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa and an IRT informant, Olajide Owolabi.
One of such revelations emerging from the investigation into the incident so far was that the Divisional Crime Officer of Ibi Police Station in Taraba State exchanged within a few days over 200 telephone calls with kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, popularly known as Wadume.
The DCO was not the only one who constantly spoke with Wadume as some other Officers and Men of the Division also did, including the Station Officer on duty on the day of the killing.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Michael Ogbizi, was said to have ordered for the arrest of the DCO and the Station Officer after he discovered that some pages of the Incident Book of Ibi Police Station were torn off when he visited.
One of the pages torn off was said to be where the entry concerning the arrival of the IRT operatives was “incidented”.
One of the claims of the Nigerian Army was that the presence of the IRT operatives was not known to them.
However, evidence had it that the Team reported at the Taraba State Police Command Headquarters in Jalingo; the Police Area Command covering Ibi; and the Ibi Police Division before proceeding to arrest Wadume.
A source said: “On discovering that the documentation of the IRT team was not reflected in the incident book, the DIG promptly ordered the arrest of the DCO and the Station Officer who were taken to the Force Criminal Investigation Department cell in Abuja.
“A forensic analysis of the call logs of the DCO showed that he had made over 200 calls to Wadume over a few days.
“The startling revelations made the police leadership to wake up to the fact that the soldiers alone were not culpable or responsible for the killing of the IRT team.
“There seems to be a deeply entrenched criminal network and deep operational collaboration between the kidnap gangs in the area, the police at Ibi Division and some soldiers of the 93 Battalion, Takum, which would require a very comprehensive and painstaking investigation to unearth and dismantle.”
So far, sources said over 25 Soldiers and Policemen have been arrested over the killing of the IRT operatives.
They include the Captain overseeing operations in Ibi area, who was said to have also exchange over 191 calls and messages with Wadume, with a car bought for him by the kidnap kingpin; the Soldiers who carried out the shooting of the IRT operatives; and policemen believed to be in the know of the dastardly killing.
The arrests were effected by the investigating team from the Force Headquarters put in place by the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu; and the joint investigation panel, headed by Rear Admiral IT Olaiya, a former Director of Naval Intelligence, constituted by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a thorough probe into the killing of the IRT operatives who were taking Wadume to the Taraba State Police Command when they came under the bullets of Soldiers at a checkpoint despite identifying themselves.
Wadume had in just one kidnapping operation collected N120 million as ransom.