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WADUME: Police witness details how suspected notorious kidnapper was re-arrested

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Inspector Samuel Abila, an operative of the Intelligence Response Unit of the Office of the Inspector-General of Police, on Monday gave details of how a suspected notorious kidnapper, Hamisu Bala, widely known as Wadume, was re-arrested two weeks after he was freed by soldiers from the custody of the police in Taraba State.

Abila gave the details at the ongoing trial of Wadume before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday.

Wadume and six others are being prosecuted on 13 counts of kidnapping, detention of kidnap victim Usman Garba, and collection of ransom of N106m from the victim before releasing him.

Apart from Wadume, the rest of the defendants are Inspector Aliyu Dadje, who was a station officer at police headquarters in Ibi; Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor, Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba Runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho); and Rayyanu Abdul.

According to Abila, the troops led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe, shot at the vehicle of the policemen taking Wadume from Ibi, Taraba State, to Abuja, allegedly killed three policemen and two civilians, while five others were wounded in the attack.

Giving details of Wadume’s escape and re-arrest, Abila said Wadume escaped with gunshot wounds to Kano State but was rearrested at his uncle, Rayyanu Abdul’s place in Kano on August 20, 2019.

The police inspector, who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mrs Yetunde Adeola-Cole, said Wadume was tracked down to Kano after investigation led the police to the suspect’s brother, Auwalu Bala, who had arrived in Abuja from Lagos.

Explaining that he was part of the police team that investigated Wadume’s escape, Abila said: “Investigation led to 3rd defendant (Auwalu Bala) who was based in Lagos but came to Abuja to assist his brother, Hamisu Bala.

“He was interviewed and he told us that Hamisu Bala was his younger brother.

“I asked him about the whereabouts of his brother, Hamisu Bala. He told me that his uncle, Rayyanu Abdul (7th defendant) based in Kano, knew Hamisu Bala’s whereabouts. So we tracked Rayyanu to Kano.

“We went to Kano where we arrested Rayyanu. When we interviewed Rayyanu, he took us to his house where we arrested Hamisu Bala. That was on August 20, 2019.”

The police Inspector further revealed that Rayyanu told the investigators that “Hamisu Bala complained that he had wounds on his legs.

“He (Rayyanu) then called a doctor who treated him at home.

“He told the doctor that the wounds were bullet wounds. And he never reported to anybody.”

Speaking further, the witness revealed that while in Kano, Wadume contacted his Lagos-based brother, Auwalu Bala, on the telephone, asking him to contact another brother, Uba Bala, to go to his (Wadume’s) house in Ibi to remove six AK-47 rifles from there for safekeeping elsewhere.

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According to him, Auwalu added that when they needed money to organise “special prayers concerning the case involving Hamisu Bala” they contacted Wadume in Kano and he said two of the six rifles be sold to raise the money.

The witness said members of the IRT went to Ibi “where Uba Bala was arrested and four AK-47 rifles were found.”

The witness also confirmed earlier reports on the role of Inspector Dadje, the Station Officer at the Ibi Police Station at the time of the incident.

Abila said: “He registered the arrival of the police officers from Abuja and confirmed that he tore the page of the register in which he registered the Abuja policemen’s arrival.”

The defence lawyers, comprising Ishaku Dikko (SAN), for Wadume, M.I Tona (for the 2nd defendant), Y.D Dangana (for the 3rd defendant), Amanzi Amanzi (for the 4th defendant), Abass Hajia (for the 5th defendant), Yakubu Philemon (for the 6th defendant) and Lukmon Fagbemi (for the 7th defendant), however all objected to the admissibility of the statements made to the police by their clients.

According to them, their clients spoke to the policemen in Hausa, but the statements were written down in English by the policemen, arguing that failure of the prosecution to accompany the English version of the statements with the Hausa version, in which they spoke, was a violation of the rules of admissibility in the Evidence Act.

Also, counsel for the 2nd defendant (Inspector Dadje) and the lawyer for the 6th defendant (Zubairu Abdulllahi), said they did not make their statements voluntarily, this prompted the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako to immediately order a trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the statements of the two defendants.

During the trial-within-trial, the two defendants testified how the statements were extracted from them by torture and inducement, but Abila, who also testified for the prosecution in the trial within trial, denied the allegations.

Justice Nyako adjourned till Wednesday.

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