A soldier attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, Sgt. Ibrahim Muhammed, has narrated how he crashed a bus in which members of the Intelligence Response Team were travelling after apprehending a suspected kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (Wadume), on August 6, 2019.
The 46-year-old member of the infantry regiment stated that he fired a shot at the tyres of the police Toyota Hummer bus causing it to somersault.
Muhammed said he fired the fatal shots after receiving orders from his commander, Capt. Tijjani Balarabe, directing him to stop the policemen “by any means.”
The sergeant with service number, 94NA/38/1750, made the admission in his statement dated, August 16, to the Joint Investigation Panel set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, to probe the killing of three policemen and their two civilian assistants by the troops commanded by Balarabe.
He said, “I, Ibrahim Muhammed, wish to state that on August 8 at about 18:20hours, while on duty at under-bridge checkpoint along Ibbi-Wukari road, my OC, Capt. Balarabe, called and told me that there were a suspected kidnappers’ bus moving towards me on their way to Wukari.
“He said they kidnapped Alh. Hamisu (Wadume) and I should make sure I stopped them by any means.
“At that time, I was inside our house and one of my soldiers who was on duty called me and was shouting, ‘Oga, look at the vehicle, they have passed and I stopped them, but they refused to stop.”
Muhammed explained that he stepped out of his house and saw a crowd and a Sharon bus chasing after the police bus, and he joined the chase, adding that the police officers also failed to stop at the next checkpoint.
He noted that they chased the IRT officers to a military checkpoint at Gidan waya where he decided to stop.
“Immediately they passed the checkpoint, I decided to engage them by firing at the tyres of the bus until the vehicle somersaulted which made me to cease fire immediately.
“On reaching the vehicle, I came down from my vehicle and went behind the vehicle of the kidnappers, and saw people coming towards me with weapons which made me to withdraw and at the same time, telling them to drop their weapons.
“One of them tried to drop his own and the next thing I heard was gunshots which made me to take cover,” the soldier narrated.
Muhammed added that a patrol team which arrived at the scene fired gunshots, adding that he raised his hands in the air and identified himself.
He noted, “After the gunshots stopped, I started hearing people shouting, ‘see Alhaji (Wadume),’ which made a soldier, Corporal Bartholomew, to take Alhaji and put him in a red private car and moved him to our camp.”
Wadume had identified Balarabe and nine other soldiers as his accomplices. They are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.
Despite their indictment by the JIP, the military authorities have refused to hand over the troops for trial.