By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”The death toll in the aftermath of the vicious attack on the Amassoma branch of the United Bank for Africa in the Southern Ijaw local government area has increased to five.
Only two policemen were initially reportedly killed by the rampaging gunmen who violated the peace of the riverine community in the early hours of Tuesday.
One of the slain constables, Vanguard reliably learnt, joined the police last year after several failed attempts to secure admission into the Bayelsa government owned Niger Delta University, NDU.
However when the dust settled Tuesday evening the panic stricken residents were alarmed by the news that an eight months old baby strapped on her mothers was also killed by flying bullet during the moment of madness while two other bodies were reportedly found in a house.
The deceased persons hit by flying bullets, sources said, were part of the several persons who fled the scene of the incident.
The gunmen, according to witnesses, had earlier sacked the police station in the community some distance away from the bank to release a suspect in detention.
The invaders, who shattered the security glass entrance to the banking hall were said to have embarked on indiscriminate shooting leading to the high number of injured persons.
Also, a youth corps member withdrawing money from an ATM within the banking premises was savagely macheted by one of the hoodlums.
A lecturer with the state owned university who pleaded anonymity said when the boys alighted from the two speed boats they came he thought they were part of those for the Ijaw Day celebration that was going on in Yenagoa.
He however, said he was taken aback when he heard sound of gun shots close to the Amassoma police station adding that the gunmen were able to release a suspect at the Amassoma police cell before going marching to the bank to unleash mayhem where they succeeded in carting away huge sum of money.
The lecturer said they watched in horror as one of the armed gunmen chase a police constable into a business centre and shot him dead at close range.
Several persons hit by stray bullets are now recuperating at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yenagoa and the NDU clinic.
The incident which claimed the lives of two police constables have since been confirmed by the Bayelsa State police commissioner, Elder Onuoha Udeka.