How robbers surveyed terrain for 3 days before they struck

Angry when the N3m targeted was delayed
Shot seven dead, injured five, blew off security door, ATM.

Dayo Johnson Akure.

FOR three days, the 10-member robbery gang that robbed a commercial bank in Idoani in Ose council area of Ondo state and killed seven people walked freely on the streets unnoticed. The robbers had arrived the town, lodged in an hotel and for three days they were busy studying the terrain waiting patiently like a lion for the auspicious time to strike.

According to a reliable police source, the robbers were targeting the sum of N3m that they were told would be brought to the bank that Monday morning before noon. At about 2pm on Monday, they eventually struck leaving a trail of blood, sorrow, grieve and wailing. Six persons were gruesomely murdered in cold blood on the spot while the seventh person managed to get to the hospital before he gave up the ghost.

Those killed in the bank robbery include a police Inspector, one of the bankers, four bank customers and the Vice Principal of Idoani Grammar School, Mr Oluloro who was at ATM point when the robbers blew it open.

Five other persons who were seriously wounded as a result of the gun shoot injuries they sustained are lying critically ill at the General Hospital ldoani.

It was a sad day for the people of the agrarian community.

The dare devil bandits who were said to have entered the community from either Edo or Kogi operated unchallenged in the bank for over one hour.

But for the timely intervention of some soldiers deployed to the scene of the robbery after the police detectives appeared helpless as a result of the superior weapons displayed by the bandits, the casualty figures would have been more than seven. One of the bandits was arrested by the soldiers while others fled the scene after they were notified that the soldiers were coming for them.

Reliable police source said the bandits were acting on a privileged information that money would be brought to the bank that day. But it eventually failed to arrive at the particular time they were given due to some delay from the main branch of the bank.

By the time the robbers arrived at the bank for their operation, the bullion van had not arrived. This reportedly angered them and they went berserk shooting everyone in sight.

Information of the robbery reportedly got to the officers accompanying the bullion van to ldoani later and they had to make a detour.

Weekend Vanguard gathered that the robbers who divided themselves into four different groups arrived the bank during the peak period of banking operation and blew open the security door with dynamite.

Two of the groups reportedly headed straight into the banking hall after blowing open the security door while the third group went to the ATM point.

The forth group it was gathered manned strategic positions outside the bank in a bid to give cover for the gang operating inside the bank. Security guards attached to the bank fled following the sporadic shooting by the bandits on arrival at the bank premises.

It was learnt that a distress call was made to the soldiers and when the robbers saw that the arrival of soldiers would spell doom for them, they fled the scene with an unspecified amount of money stolen from the vault and the ATM.

According to an eyewitness, after blowing open the security door, the bandits walked into the banking hall shooting sporadically. The sound of the dynamite and the damage done to the security door reportedly caused pandemonium inside bank, the robbers then became confused and in the process started shooting at everyone in the banking hall.

They reportedly found their way to the vault where they moved some cash into their bags while other members of the gang raided the cashiers and some customers they met inside the banking hall.

Reports had it that the bandits also invaded the residence of the traditional ruler in the town, Alani of ldoani Oba Olufemi Olutoye who was not at home when the bandits visited. They broke into the house by damaging many of the doors but left when they discovered that the occupant was not at home. In annoyance, the house and the fence were riddled with gunshots.

Meanwhile, four other suspects including two bank officials have again been arrested by police detectives in respect of the robbery.

This is coming as the state governor Rotimi Akeredolu who visited the town to commiserate with the people had given a marching order to all security agencies in the state to go after the bandits and ensure their arrest.

Five suspects have already been apprehended in respect of the robbery and have been moved to the state police headquarters in Akure for further interrogation.

Reliable police source hinted that the suspect who was arrested during the shoot out between the security operatives and the robbers at the scene of the robbery made some confessional statements which led to the arrest of the four suspects.

The four suspects it was gathered have equally made confessional statements and gave police detectives lead that would help in apprehending other fleeing suspects.

Contacted, Police spokesperson Femi Joseph said that the command was working assiduously to apprehend the fleeing suspects who robbed the bank and gruesomely murdered seven persons.

Joseph appealed against citing of banks in isolated areas noting that it was easy for the robbers to operate in the bank on Monday unhindered because of where it was located.

He said the robbery operation lasted for long hours because the bank had been overgrown with weeds and was located in a border town between Ondo and Edo states.

Joseph said the Commissioner of Police and a crack team of investigators have moved to Idoani in order to arrest the other fleeing suspects.

Meanwhile, the state governor Rotimi Akeredolu represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, visited the town and paid a condolence visit to Alani of Idoani, Oba Olufemi Olutoye at his palace.

The palace of the traditional ruler is a stone throw to the bank that was robbed on Monday.

The governor who described the incident as unfortunate implored the “security agents to fish out those who perpetrated the attack on the bank and killed innocent people. Akeredolu assured that his administration would continue to partner with the security agencies to nip this kind of incident in the bud.

Oba Olutoye said the bandits who also came into his compound and damaged his doors entered and fled the town through an abandoned narrow road constructed in 1925 beside the bank.

According to him the bandits hid some explosives in the bush which detonated as they fled from the scene of the operation. Oba Olutoye who said that the town which shares borders with Edo and Kogi states has always been a get-away route for miscreants after committing crimes.

He appealed to the state government to assist the people in securing the town in a bid to halt the infiltration of people of questionable character.

Oba Olutoye also appealed to the state government to assist the family of the bereaved “in order to reduce the burden the incident had caused them.

The state police commissioner Udie Adie said that security has been beefed up in all the banking zones across the 18 council areas of the state. A special meeting between security agencies and bank managers has been summoned to fashion out strategies of curbing further attacks on commercial institutions and their customers.

Adie assured the public and bank customers that there was no cause for apprehension as more policemen had been detailed to provide security at flashpoints in and around banking zones in major towns across the state.

In this command, he added “we will not allow such robbery to go unpunished. On the incident at Idoani, we have reinforced security in this area and other parts of the state especially banking areas; just as we are seriously progressing with our investigation. We are in the process of holding meeting with bank managers, which we call bankers’ forum”.



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