Armed Robbers Invade Ogbomoso

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By Tunde Sanni, Ibadan
Armed robbers invaded Ogbomosho, the hometown of Oyo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, yesterday, and carted away an undisclosed amount of money from banks.

The robbers, who attacked about six first and second generation banks along the Ogbomosho-Ilorin highway, were able to overpower the security men manning the banks in an operation that lasted about an hour.

An eyewitness said the robbers, who were about 60, had sophisticated weapons comprising sub-machine guns and AK47 rifles, which made it easy for them to gain access to the banks.

According to the eyewitness, the robbers barricaded all the major roads while the operation lasted.

THISDAY gathered that the robbers stormed the Apake area of the town from Ilesa, Osun State where they had earlier raided some banks in the morning.

It was also learnt that the operation started around 11.30 am and ended around 12.30pm when they left the town.

The casualty figure could not be ascertained as at press time. While a source claimed that two bank officials were killed in the invasion, another said a student on internship with one of the raided banks was the only casualty.

It was also gathered that some customers as well as passers-by were killed in the operation.

Many people sustained injuries, while four others who were wounded, died later at the Baptist Hospital where they were rushed to by sympathizers.

Efforts by the robbers to attack other banks within the town were repelled by officers of the Quick Response Squad, who quickly mobilised to the robbery scene and killed three of the robbers.

THISDAY gathered that after the operation, the robbers reportedly danced round the area, indicating that they had a successful operation. While dancing, shots were fired sporadically which reportedly hit some people.

The robbers destroyed a patrol vehicle belonging to the state police command to forestall being chased by the police.

While the operation lasted, the traffic situation was hectic with most of the motorists abandoning their vehicles and taking to their heels.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baba Adisa Bolanta, later led a rescue team to the town from Ibadan, a journey of about an hour, while riot policemen and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) were also deployed in the town.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Miss Olabisi Okuwobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who confirmed the incident, disclosed that her boss was saddened by the incident and called for more support for the police by good-spirited individuals and corporate organizations in and outside the state.

Okuwobi, who was part of the commissioner's entourage, told newsmen on the phone that, “the CP feels saddened today. He wondered what would have happened if the command could afford to station one APC in Ogbomoso instead of the one deployed from Ibadan to Ogbomoso, a journey of over one hour. There is no argument that the police need more equipment, more assistance and we call on well-meaning Nigerians to assist the police”.

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