Alexander Okere, Benin
The Edo State Police Command on Friday said that it had launched a search for the fleeing members of an armed robbery gang who attacked a commercial bank in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state.
The command also confirmed that it lost an inspector to the attackers.
The robbers, who were said to have operated in two groups, had invaded Igarra community on Thursday evening.
They had reportedly stormed a police station in the area and killed a policeman and two other persons, said to be detainees, in a bid to demobilise the security operatives.
They later made their way to the bank, where four other persons were said to have been killed during shooting.
But the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, told journalists that only six persons, including three of the robbers were killed in the attack.
Kokumo said, “The attack in Igarra was on Keystone Bank and not on two banks. Actually, there are two banks in the vicinity and adjacent to each other; the second is Unity Bank.
“The marauding criminals attacked Keystone Bank, but they met a very stiff opposition from policemen on duty, both at Unity Bank and Keystone Bank. Men of the Police Mobile Force in Edo State were able to give a good account of themselves.
“In a gun duel that ensued between the criminals and the PMF men who were on bank guard duties, three of the criminals were gunned down.
“My source of information is primary. The figures (casualties) were actually exaggerated. Two civilians were killed, one police inspector lost his life and three armed robbers were equally killed.”
The commissioner, however, noted that investigations were ongoing to ensure that other members of the robbery syndicate were brought to book.
He stated, “After the encounter, two of the armed robbers were actually dead. The third one was not dead, as of the time the police swooped on them. He was able to give us useful information that we are actually processing with a view to effecting the arrest of others who have taken to flight.
“We will not want a repeat of this kind of nonsense anywhere in Edo. So, we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we process all the information we have in good time, with a view to going after those who have taken to flight.”
Kokumo continued, “It is known that these criminals were making incursions from the neighbouring towns outside Edo State into Igarra. On a number of occasions that they have come, they have not actually had it this rough.
“This time round, it was very rough and I think they will not want to have a repeat of this nonsense.”
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