Military and police detectives have widened their search for Taraba kidnap suspect Hamisu Bala Wadume beyond the boundaries of the land.
This was as the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) gave reasons for the extension of the time given to the Joint Investigative Panel (JIP) to submit its report.
It noted also that the arrest of Wadume as a principal suspect would not only accelerate the work of the panel but was very important to the investigations.
Security operatives were said to have extended their search for the kidnap kingpin to border towns in the Northeast and Southeast.
Wadume is on the run, more than 10 days after he escaped in controversial circumstances that led to the killing of three police detectives and a civilian when soldiers attached to the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, fired gunshots at the vehicle conveying them on Ibi-Jalingo road.
Wadume, who was in handcuffs, was allegedly set free by the soldiers who, Army spokesman Col. Musa Sagir said, were acting on a distress call by a kidnap victim.
Sources at the DHQ yesterday said that Wadume had not been apprehended by detectives and intelligence personnel combing the nooks and crannies of states in the Middle Belt, the Northeast, and Southeast.
It was gathered that besides the efforts of the security agents in combing likely hideouts of the kidnap kingpin, the services of Interpol might have been enlisted to tighten the noose on him.
The source expressed optimism that Wadume would soon be arrested as the security agencies are aware of the onerous responsibility placed on them to ensure the arrest of the principal suspect.
The DHQ source also confirmed the time frame given to the panel to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of three police personnel.
The source said: “We could not give the panel a time frame because we were not sure of the magnitude of the problem. But as events unfolded, we realized they could not finish up with the work within a week or two. So, I can tell you that the time has been extended. But still, there is no time frame.
“What we are concerned about is that the panel will do a thorough job the outcome of which will be commendable. And if you look at the composition of the panel, you will know that these are officers who have distinguished themselves professionally over the years in their various services.”
According to The Nation further, the panel was reviewing the preliminary evidence obtained in the past few days from various sources, while police and military personnel, as well as civilians connected with the matter, were facing various levels of interrogations and grilling