A policeman who survived the attack on the Intelligence Response Team, Inspector Mathias Abah, has said he was tortured by the troops commanded by Capt. Tijjani Balarabe after they found him in his hideout.
Abah stated that the soldiers hit him with their boots and guns until he passed out, adding that he was stripped naked.
The inspector stated these in his testimony to the Joint Investigation Panel, which probed the August 6, 2019 attack on the IRT policemen by the troops of the 93 Battalion, Taraba State.
Three policemen and two civilians were killed during the incident, which occurred after the cops had arrested a suspected kidnapper, Hamisu Bala, aka Wadume.
Wadume had allegedly received N106.3m ransom and still killed one of his victims, Usman Garba, because his family failed to provide the additional N20m he demanded.
The policemen had arrested the suspect and were taking him to the state police command when the troops attacked them, killing five persons and injuring others. The soldiers also freed Wadume.
Abah, who survived the attack, stated that he was hiding in the bush when the soldiers dragged him out and beat him up.
He said, “When the soldiers came to where I was hiding, the first thing they did was to remove my Nike shoes and my money. Some of them fought over the shoes. They hit me with the boots and I kept shouting that we were policemen; my (IRT) jacket was still on me.
“They stripped me naked and beat me until I fainted. I woke up in the military camp in Ibbi naked. One of the soldiers asked me, ‘Don’t you know that Wadume is the richest man in Ibbi, who asked you to arrest him?’
“After this, they tied my hands behind me and my legs and started talking in Hausa; they never knew I understood the language. They said they could not release me alive because I might give evidence against them.”
The traumatised officer further said a lieutenant who came around ordered that he should be taken for medical attention, adding that his torturers refused to untie him at the hospital.
“Later, Capt. Balarabe and a civilian came to meet me with a mobile phone saying my boss, DCP Abba Kyari, wanted to speak with me.
“While I was speaking with Kyari on the phone, the said captain was shaking his head and later left me before the police came from Wukari. They took me and the late Inspector Mark Ediale and other corpses in separate ambulances to the Wukari General Hospital.”
Police investigations had indicted 10 soldiers for the attack and murder of three policemen and two civilians.
They are Capt. Balarabe; 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.
The police have filed criminal charges against the troops and Wadume’s gang members but the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), inexplicably dropped the charges against the soldiers.