BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI, ILORIN
The sporadic gun shots from men of the under world Tuesday, rattled residents of the ancient town of Omuaran in Irepodun local government area of Kwara state. The robbers, numbering over 20 and armed with sophisticated weapons, attacked three banks and killed three persons: a member of a vigilante group and two others.
Investigation by Crime Guard revealed that the robbers apparently struck with a laid down plan. For instance, they were discovered to have arrived the town 24-hours before the operation.
Findings by Crime Guard revealed that they lodged in a nearby hotel, in preparation for their deadly mission, Monday. The following day (Tuesday) they reportedly left the hotel. Their first port of call as gathered, was a Police division in Alakata, not too far from Aperan road where some banks are situated. The bandits reportedly attacked the policemen at the station, deflated every mobile vehicle in the premises and seized some of their riffles.
While this was going on, other members of the gang were attacking some banks around the area. They reportedly broke into First bank vault, carting away an unspecified amount. But they could however,reportedly not gain access into the vaults of Union Bank and Eco Bank during the operation said to have taken close to 20 minutes.
While the operation lasted unchallenged, a member of a vigilante group in Omuran, identified as Dapo Awoyale, reportedly attempted to face the robbers but was shot dead.
An eye witness told Crime Guard that “ Dapo attempted to challenge the robbers before they started the operation. We learnt that he was warned earlier by the gang members who obviously knew his intention and capability. We learnt they told him that they didn’t come for him, that he should stay out of their way. Dapo quickly left the scene only to be seen later. But he had barely disembarked from his motorbike apparently to engage the robbers in a shoot out than he was felled by volleys of bullets from the gang.
“The robbers thereafter, entered First Bank, where they gained access into the vault with the use of grenades and dynamites. At the end of the operation, two persons from the raided banks were killed” eye witnesses said.
After the robbers exit, youths of the town reportedly besieged Omuaran police division, blaming the policemen for not rising to the occasion. They reportedly hurled stones at the policemen, in the process of which some of them sustained injuries. Their action was however contained following the use of teargas by the policemen.
The body of the slain vigilante member, Dapo, was committed to mother earth Friday with the villagers coming out en mass to give him a historic burial for what they described as his rare display of bravery.
The Kwara State Police Command Public Relations officer, Olufemi Fabode, confirmed the incident in an interview with journalists in Ilorin. He however, said that one AK 47 rifle and two explosive devices were recovered after the robbers were repelled.
He said,”Three people died,including two staffers of Union Bank and one civilian. Also, four police officers including the Area commander, Olatunji Ayodele, who sustained serious injuries on his shoulder were receiving treatment in the hospital”.
He added that various security measures had been taken by the command to beef up security in the town. “Already, a team of mobile police officers have been deployed to the town, likewise a team of intelligence officers, to get useful information that would help arrest criminals in the area.”
However, since the robbery attack, banks in the entire town have been shut down while residents are still gripped with trepidation,despite the presence of scores of mobile police men and intelligence officers deployed by the Kwara State Police Command.