Operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), at the weekend, arrested 11 more suspects believed to be members of kidnap suspect Hamisu Bala Wadume’s gang.
The operatives also recovered 18 AK47 rifles in the operation that covered Taraba and neighbouring states, The Nation learnt on Sunday.
Saturday’s arrest brought to 19 the members of Wadume’s gang apprehended by the police since his re-arrest.
It was gathered that the suspects were also making useful statements and providing leads into the three kidnap syndicates allegedly operated by the kingpin.
The report of the Joint Investigative Panel on the killing of three undercover policemen by soldiers in Taraba State was however not ready, its Chairman Rear Admiral Ibikunle Olaiya, said yesterday.
He spoke while responding to questions from The Nation about the panel’s findings on telephone.
A newspaper (not The Nation) had reported that the panel’s report had been submitted to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
Debunking the report, Rear Admiral Olaiya said: “I can tell you categorically as the chairman that no such thing has happened. I have told you before that when the panel is ready with its report, the public will know.”
Three policemen and a civilian died when a team of soldiers attached to 93 Battalion Takum opened fire on a bus that was conveying them.
The slain officers were part of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), who went to Ibi to arrest the then wanted kidnap kingpin, Bala (alias Wadume).
They were on their way to the Police Command Headquarters in Jalingo when they came under attack.
The incident which created a wedge between the police and the army, especially the alleged release of Wadume by soldiers on the order of a yet-to-be-unmasked army Captain, prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the DHQ to investigate the matter.
As the seven-man panel swung into action, the police re-arrested Wadume in Kano State and presented him before them where he allegedly gave horrid details of the incident.
But since Wadume’s re-arrest, the panel, DHQ, army and police authorities, have maintained deafening silence on the matter leaving Nigerians in the dark.
There was no information on the deadline for the submission of the panel’s report.
Several efforts to get update on the matter from Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Onyema Nwachukwu, a Col. failed as he did not answer calls to his mobile phone.
However, a DHQ source, told our reporter that the panel was yet to conclude its work, adding that the report might be delayed because members of the panel are determined to do a thorough job.
On whether Wadume was with the military, the source said the suspect was in police custody.
Asked whether the panel was still calling witnesses, the source said it would continue to do so to cross-check and fine tune its final copy of the report.