More revelations have emerged regarding how the police officers from the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team were killed by soldiers in Taraba State on August 6.
This is just as our correspondent gathered authoritatively of how the Commanding Officer of 93 Battalion Ibi, Captain Balarabe Tijani, employed the services of a welder in the community to destroy the hand and leg cuffs on Hamisu Bala Wadume, before setting him free.
The Captain, who is said to have been interrogated by the panel from the Defence Headquarters, was said to have resorted to using a welder to remove the leg and hand cuffs from his friend after the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ibi Command, Aondona Augustine Iorbee, whom he contacted for the keys, told him he didn’t have them.
Top police sources told our correspondent in Abuja that aside seeking for the keys 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 sources who did not want to be mentioned, the hand and leg cuffs were actually destroyed in the house of the Captain where he took the kidnap kingpin to 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 kidnapped kingpin before he was eventually moved to the house of the Commanding Officer.
Police sources said all the team members of the IRT could have been killed but for the timely arrival of some Police Officers from the office of the Area Commander as well as some senior Army officers who arrived at the military base on time.
It was also gathered that if the wounded officers had got medical attention on time, the death toll recorded could 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, they 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 didn’t just stop there because after the killing, he then took Wadume, his friend, to his house and sought for the keys from both the DPO, who was on leave, and Crime Officer, who didn’t have that; 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 handcuff, the Captain proceeded to destroy other major evidence that could link him to the crime.
“First, he called the station 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 guys to create an impression that they came for the operation without booking.
“The Crime Officer, who is being interrogated, told detectives of how he was threatened by the Captain who said if he did not do it, 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 those things.
“Fortunately, there were other evidence of their arrival documented in the policy file.
“The bodies were released to the Area Crime Officer in Wukari.
“When they took them to their base, the Captain wanted the ones that were alive to be killed.
“But the intervention of some other good officers and the arrival of senior officers from the Area Commander’s Office made it impossible for him to do that.
“After that, he took Wadume to his personal house.
“The DPO and Captain are friends and neighbours; it is just a fence that separates them.
“He was interested in releasing the guy but failed to cover up.
“He could have wasted everybody if not for that timely intervention.”
It was gathered that if the wounded officers were taken to hospital they would have survived as some of them were said to have been alive at the time they were taken to the military base.
It was gathered that the two police officers who have since been arrested are being investigated for post-incident roles, particularly for the administrative action and inaction they took after the killings by the soldiers.
They were said to have made confessional statements on their role in the brutal killings.
When contacted, Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said: “I am not the spokesperson for the probe panel.”
Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, directed the reporter to contact the panel for clarification on the matter.
Meanwhile, more Army and Police Officers who have been interrogated by the probe panel from the Defence Headquarters are said to have made very useful confessional statement as to how the incident happened.
The panel is expected to submit its report to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, who would, in turn, present it to President Muhamadu Buhari, who ordered for an investigation into the matter.