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Police slam 16 count charge on Wadume, Army Captain, others

The Taraba kidnap kingpin Bala Hamisu popularly known as Wadume would be facing charges of terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running.

Also going to face the same charges are Captain Ahmed Balarabe and 18 others.

Inspector-General of Police filed a 16-count charge bordering on the above offences against the defendants at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

A source said though the matter is yet to be assigned a judge, the criminal charge dated February 3, 2020 was filed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough; Anthony Egwu, and Peter Amadi, of the Legal/Prosecution Section, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

It would be recalled that about six months ago, it was widely reported that Wadume, who was arrested by policemen, was aided to escape by some soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, led by Balarabe.

The suspected kidnap kingpin escaped when the soldiers attacked the policemen, who arrested him, leading to the death of three policemen and two civilians. Other policemen were injured in the incident.

Among the charges were that Wadume in connivance with Balarabe and other suspects (some still at large) between February and April 2019 at Takum and Ibi, Taraba State, conspired together to commit felony, to wit: acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.

The defendants were also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

It was gathered that the prosecution would rely on the testimonies of 29 eyewitnesses.

Some of the eyewitnesses, it was learnt, would testify on how Garba was kidnapped on February 16, 2019 at Takum by Wadume and his gang.

Wadume and his gang had allegedly demanded a N200m ransom. The family of the victim had managed to raise about N106m for the kidnappers, yet they allegedly went ahead to kill the victim.

It was also learnt that DCP Abba Kyari, CSP Baba Khali, ASP Abdulrahman Mohammed, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Habila Samuel and Inspector Ilarju Joseph are the investigating police officers in the case, and will testify about their findings in the course of the investigation as well as tender exhibits and documents.

Exhibits in the case, it was gathered, included written statements of the defendants, photographs of the victims, autopsy reports, six AK-47 rifles recovered from the gang, three empty shells, one live ammunition and six Volkswagen Sharon buses, and one (police) Toyota Hiace bus, among others.

Also among exhibits attached to the charge were the call logs showing the phone communication between Wadume, Balarabe and the police officers at Ibi Police Station.

“They will be arraigned once a judge is assigned to the case,” the source said.

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