…as resident insists on 10 casualties
By Alemma Aliu
BENIN—EDO State Police Command has given insight into how last Thursday’s failed attempt by robbers to rob a bank after they invaded Igarra, headquarters of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, was organised.
This came as the Police confirmed six deaths, while the community insisted 10 persons were killed in the unsuccessful bank raid.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, while briefing newsmen in Benin on the incident after a trip to the community, said six persons and not 10 as reported, were killed.
He added that among the dead were three of the suspected criminals, a police inspector and two civilians.
The identities of the civilians were Ojo Ukana, an indigene of the community, arrested earlier that day over domestic issues, and a man identified as Nnamdi, who was said to have been arrested for driving his vehicle without required documents.
However, a member of the community, who insisted that 10 persons died, claimed a policeman and the two detainees were killed at the police station, three persons killed at a pool house in Okpe Junction near the police station, one around Market Road area, and three of the suspected robbers killed at the bank’s premises.
Meanwhile, Kokumo told journalists that the robbers planned the robbery in a way to prevent reinforcement, by attacking the police station and the bank simultaneously.
According to him, only one bank and not the two were attacked, saying “there are two banks opposite each other. The robbers met with very stiff resistance from men of Police Mobile Force 6, Edo State, who gave a good account of the stuff they are made of in the gun battle.
“Three of the criminals were gunned down and their weapons (one AK-47 rifle and two pump action guns) recovered.”
Continuing, he said: “Criminals will always devise different ways of perpetrating their criminal acts. What this gang did was to divide themselves into two group; one went to the police station, ostensibly to prevent the Police from responding to possible distress call from the banks.
“The second half went to the bank. When the distress call went to the police station, there was no way policemen could respond. They succeeded in killing two civilians and one police inspector. But on the whole, I am happy to inform you that three of the robbers were gunned down.
“I was there and I saw things for myself. I am giving you primary information. The figures were actually exaggerated. I have told you two civilians, one inspector and three robbers died.”
Edo govt reacts
Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has commended the gallantry of men of the state Police Command, who foiled the robbery attack.
Obaseki expressed regret over the death of some persons and prayed for the repose of their souls.
He said those wounded would be treated and assured that the state government is working to rid the state of criminal elements, through synergy with the various security agencies in the state.
“The attack is unfortunate and we will do all within our power to forestall such heinous incidents in the future,” the governor added.