Treagedy struck yesterday in Ondo State as two policemen were killed by a gang of armed robbers who attacked a branch of Skye Bank Plc in Ifon, the headquarters of Ose Local Government Area of the state.
The Guardian gathered that both policemen that were attached to the bank, whose identities were not disclosed, engaged the bandits who struck the bank in a gun duel for about 40 minutes, but were ultimately overpowered. According to sources, the armed robbers attacked around 3:00p.m. after the bank had closed business for the day and carted away undisclosed sum of money.
The unfortunate incident grounded social and commercial activities in the town for over one hour, leaving residents living near to the bank to run for safety during the operation.
Eyewitnesses disclosed that the gang, numbering 15, stormed the premises of the bank during the time the bank workers had already stopped transaction with customers. They recounted that the armed gang blew up the bullet-proof door of the bank with substance suspected to be dynamite before forcing their way to the banking hall.
The eyewitnesses added that on gaining entrance, the robbers carted away all of the money in the bank’s vault while some of them engaged the policemen in a gun duel outside the bank. They added that stray bullets from the robbers hit and killed a man, whose identity was not known, while receiving treatment at a clinic very near to the scene.
“They came in three vehicles and they were up to 15 in number, they were heavily armed. When they got to the bank they could not enter easily because the bank had stopped attending to customers. So they had to blow the door up with dynamite.
“For several minutes, they were shooting everywhere, two of the policemen that engaged them were killed but none of the robbers was killed during the shooting,” a source said.
However, another source stated that it was after the police called for back up and more officers were deployed to the scene of the crime to engage the bandits that they escaped with the loot.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident and noted that the command had deployed more officers to the scene. He commiserated with the families of the slain officers, saying the command will release their identities after their families have been formally informed of the sad incident.
Joseph disclosed further that another contingent, led by the Commissioner for Police, Mr. Gbenga Adeyanju, had promptly gone to the local council, which is some kilometres from Akure, after receiving the information.
“It is unfortunate that we lost two of our men in the incident, but we are still on the trail of the robbers, they went to the bank with sophisticated weapon and in spite of that our men still engaged them.
“The CP led the team from Akure to the scene. It was when they (robbers) knew that we were closing in on the them that they ran away with bullets wounds. We shall get them soonest because our men are still on their trail,” he said.