Two persons including an armed robbery suspect were confirmed dead yesterday while seven others sustained several degrees of injuries when Police swooped on a four man armed robbery gang terrorizing traders in the commercial city of Onitsha.
According to eyewitnesses’ accounts, the incident occurred at exactly 9.30 am at No 20B Ifejika Street, off Sokoto road when a four man robbery gang operating in commercial motorcycles attacked a Telecommunication office where they carted away cash and other valuables worth over N3 million.
The source further disclosed that the armed robbers held the staff and customers of the Telecommunication hostage for the period of ten minutes before police detachment from the Central Police Station (CPS) and Fegge Division led by the Patrol and Guard Officer and Divisional Crime Officer 2, Mr. Kabir Umar Farouk arrived and shot one of the robbers.
However according to Police source, the robbers had succeeded in dispossessing the victims and their customers of their valuables when on sighting the coming patrol van, the robbers opened fire on the police which was returned and one of the robbers was shot on the spot while others escaped with various gunshot wounds.
It was also gathered that another victim of the deadly robbery was one man suspected by be a member of the local vigilance group whom the police said must have been gunned down by the robbers when they saw him as a threat to their operation.
A police source who pleaded anonymity said “when we received the information that armed robbers were operating along the Sokoto road, we mobilized our men and stormed the scene but on sighting us, the robbers opened fire on us and in the process, one of the robbers ‘that was the one we shot’ fiercely shot the vigilante man before our men gunned him down” he said.
Speaking to our reporter at the Central Police Station, CPS, Onitsha the victim (names withheld) said that the robbers stormed his shop and ordered both the staff and customers to lie down before they dispossessed them of their valuables including cash.
The victim also revealed that during the operation which he said lasted for ten minutes, the robbers were manhandling his staff and customers, adding that they also used gun butts on them before the arrival of the policemen.
Addressing the policemen for their gallantry, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, ACP, D.C Makama and Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. Larry Osita commended the efforts of the policemen in CPS and Fegge Divisions, Onitsha in responding to the distress call.
Mr. Makama also urged the men to be more proactive and battle ready to combat violent crimes in the commercial city of Onitsha especially armed robbery during the yuletide period, noting that the police would not allow armed robbers to have rest in the state.
Ureports also gathered that items recovered at the scene of the robbery by policemen from CPS and Fegge Divisions included two AK47 rifles, four magazines and 66 rounds of ammunitions.
Meanwhile the corpse of the slain vigilante had been deposited in an undisclosed mortuary while passersby who sustained gunshot injuries during the gun duel have been cleared for medical attention by the police as they affirmed their readiness to get the feeling members of the gang.