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Thursday, September 04 2003

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Vol 16 No.177

News

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Opinion

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Business

  • Money/Market

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  • Attack on bullion van

    Attack on bullion van

    Police kill 5 robbers, recover N4.5m

    CHRISTIE OHUABUNWA, Lagos and AYODELE ONI, Akure

    POLICE authorities in Ondo State and Abuja said yesterday their men had, in a reprisal attack, killed five members of an eight-man robbery gang which snatched a bullion van near Akure, last Tuesday.

    Both state Police Commissioner, Mr. Donald Iroham, and Force Public Relations Officer, (FPRO) Mr. Chris Olakpe, a deputy commissioner of police, said the N4.5 million in the bullion van was recovered intact, barely hours after the robbery.

    Three policemen were killed during a gun duel with the bandits in front of the secretariat of Akure North Local Government at Iju where the dare-devil hoodlums also snatched the bullion van and two other cars even as further disclosures showed that three civilians were also killed by the gang.

    But the police said their men were mobilised to fight back as the robbers fled with their loot, leading to "a fierce gun battle" at Ado-Ekiti junction in the Ekiti State capital.

    A statement in Akure signed by the Mr. Iroham, said five members of the eight-man gang were killed, while N4.5 million, being conveyed by the bullion van, was recovered.

    The money belonged to the Union Bank branch, Ado-Ekiti and was being taken to its other branch office in Akure, before it was snatched.

    According to the police boss, other items recovered from the gang were three rifles earlier snatched from the bullion van police escorts, three mobile phone sets and a Toyota Corolla car earlier snatched from the owner.

    Among the civilian victims of the robbery operations were a man, who was trying to call the police with his cell phone when the incident was going on, and his son.

    The robbers – six men and two women – came from neighbouring Edo State and started their operation along the Akure/Benin highway.

    It was while trying to escape that they were confronted by a police patrol team at Owo, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. E. A. Owoeye.

    One of the robbers, the police commissioner said, had earlier been shot dead at Ado-Ekiti/Akure junction, one of the spots they had operated.

    Names of the deceased policemen are Sgt Jacob Idowu with force No 24246, Inspector Aaron Oyewole, No 91418; Sgt Michael Onakpugu, while Corporal Adetuyi Adefisayo, who received bullet wounds is on admission at the State Specialist Hospital, Akure.

    In a statement from Abuja, FPRO, Mr. Olakpe, said the war against armed banditry would be sustained "irrespective of the occasional casualties suffered by members of the force."

    Meanwhile, government has given the police over 6000 units of walkie talkies to boost crime prevention.

    Disclosing this, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Tafa Balogun, said no government since the establishment of the force had done so much for the police.

    He said the present administration has excelled in the provision of necessary equipment with the latest gesture leading to a boost in police logistics base.

    The IGP urged the public to avail itself of the opportunity provided by the development to report immediately any incidents for prompt response.

    Olakpe, said in a statement that the walkie talkies have been distributed to state commands and formations.

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