By DAUD OLATUNJI
ABEOKUTA — THERE was pandemonium, yesterday, in Abeokuta as men of the Ogun State Police Command and a gang of robbers engaged in a gun duel, forcing residents and others in Agbeloba axis of the state capital to scamper for safety.
One of the robbers was arrested while others escaped after a hot chase by the police aided by commercial motor cycle operators (Okada riders).
It was gathered that the gang went for an operation in the area, but before they could attack, the police had got wind of its presence and sent a detachment of mobile policemen attached to the Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, after members of the gang.
An eye witness told Vanguard that the security operatives chased the gang’s operational vehicles around Agbeloba/Pepsi way in the metropolis and eventually demobilized their vehicle, but the robbers reportedly kept driving recklessly which caused the anxiety.
The robbers were later forced to stop when they got to Pepsi/Agbeloba axis of the metropolis cordoned off by police vehicles.
It was gathered that Okada riders in the metropolis also joined the police in the chase and were stoning the two occupants of the demobilized vehicle before their movement was eventually halted.
Speaking, state Command Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi, said: “The men came in to operate. We got information that the vehicle was moving suspiciously within Abeokuta metropolis. Our mobile policemen attached to the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) at the Ibara axis gave them a hot chase. We were able to get one of the suspected robbers while the other fled.”
“This is a school environment; when they were engaged, the mobile men were conscious of stray bullets hitting innocent persons, but the target was to demobilize the vehicle and that we were able to do successfully in this vehicle. One fled immediately and another one was arrested and he is now in police custody”, he said.
The PPRO however said that the command has placed other neighbouring commands on alert to enable the police track down the fleeing robbery suspects.
“We have informed other neighbouring commands to be on the lookout so that they can intercept the vehicle. We don’t have the details of the vehicle that escaped”.
“Remember we told you that the raid that we have embarked upon is not giving them a conducive environment to operate in the state. So, what the command is doing is to spread our tentacles and we will deploy all resources at our disposal to checkmate these men”.
Ogun police command however, appealed to members of the public, “particularly the medical practitioners to inform the police whenever they see anybody with bullet wounds so that it could help in the course of their investigation into the matter”.
Meanwhile the command said it killed four suspected armed robbers in their hideouts in Igbesa in Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of the state.
State Command Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi, told newsmen that a team of police officers in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, by the Officer-in-Charge, SUPOL, Ahmed Tijani had late Tuesday killed four armed robbers in their hiding place at Odan , Abuja village in Igbesa area of the Ado – Odo/Ota local government area.
Adejobi said the robbery suspects were part of the armed robbers that attacked officials of the Vigilant Services of Ogun state (VSO) at Onihale axis of Ifo township in Ifo local government area of the state in which four of them were killed.
“The armed robbers, on sighting the police, opened fire and the police responded appropriately and four of them died on the spot while some of them fled the area with bullet wounds. There was no arrest”.
“Items recovered from the fleeing armed robbers include: one Nissan Sunny salon car with registration number (LAGOS) JJJ 106 BE; one pump action gun loaded with 10 rounds of live cartridges; one made in Ghana pistol, a double barreled gun with three rounds of live cartridges.
“Others are one locally made double barreled pistol loaded with two live cartridges, five expended cartridges, one AK47 magazine loaded with seven rounds of live bullets, two number of Bajaj motorcycles without registration number as well as some assorted charms”, he said.