LAGOS: Nigeria's police said Tuesday it had caught a wanted kidnapper after blaming the army for helping him escape during a deadly shootout that sparked a bitter row between the security forces.
"Operatives of the Nigeria Police have re-arrested the notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume," police spokesman Frank Mba said in a statement.
Police have been on a "massive manhunt" for the suspect since he escaped after soldiers shot dead three police officers who had arrested him in central Taraba state.
The incident on August 6 sparked a furious dispute between the police and military that shone a spotlight on longstanding suspicions that elements of the security forces are involved in lucrative kidnapping rackets.
The police accused soldiers of launching a "sudden attack" on police officers before releasing the handcuffed suspect and letting him go. Two civilians were also killed in the shooting.
The army confirmed the deaths but insisted troops mistook the police officers for kidnappers after responding to a distress call to rescue a kidnap victim.
Taraba is among the states in central and northern Nigeria that have seen a surge in insecurity, including kidnappings, over the last year.
The government has deployed special forces comprising police, army and air force members to flush out the criminals.
Kidnappers often wear official uniforms while seizing people in Nigeria.