- 7 Killed, Several Injured
By Ismaeel Uthman
LOCAL security operatives and men of the Nigeria Police Force successfully foiled an attempt by dare-devil armed robbers to raid two different commercial banks in Ikire and Apomu of Irewole and Isokan Local Government Council areas respectively on Wednesday evening.
But the foiled operations were not without casualties on the sides of both the Police and civilians.
Two policemen, ASP Osho Oluranti, Inspector Lekan Olalere, two Special Constabularies, Oladeni Olalekan and Oyedeji Muyideen, were shot dead in the process.
Also, three residents, Toheeb Oyebola, Temilorun Adebiyi and Segun Olamoyero were shot dead when the residents confronted the armed robbers.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the armed robbers, numbering about 35, stormed the towns around 5:30pm in five different vehicles.
They reportedly attacked Ikire Divisional Police Headquarters and the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) pinned down at Ikoyi-Osun with several explosive devices and several gunshots in a bid to subdue the capacity of the Police before proceeding to rob First Bank, Ikire and Access Bank, Apomu respectively.
It was gathered that the armed robbers blew the metal detective device at Access Bank, Apomu with explosive device and shot a mobile policeman at the premises of the bank.
Also, a staff of the First Bank in Ikire was also shot by the armed robbers before blowing the access point of the building.
Findings by the medium revealed that the armed robbers divided themselves into three teams to attack the banks and the Ikire Police Divisional Headquarters simultaneously.
Sources in Apomu told OSUN DEFENDER that residents of Oke-Ola, where the Access Bank was located in Apomu, confronted the armed robbers five minutes after their arrival at the bank.
It was gathered that the residents started hurling stones and other items they could lay their hands on at the men of the underworld.
In the process, the armed robbers were distracted and resorted to shooting the residents in order to get leeway of escape.
Three of the residents were killed, while so many others reportedly sustained gunshot injuries.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the armed robbers in Apomu called for reinforcement from their colleagues at Ikire, which put their operations in disarray.
One of the armed robbers who reportedly ran out of ammunition was held by a resident of Access Bank area before he was rescued by his colleagues who came from Ikire.
A victim of the robbery operations, Mr. Jelili Akinsola, said the armed robbers hijacked his vehicle at gunpoint at Oja-Ale, Ikire.
Akinsola, who spoke on Rave FM’s Frank Talk Programme yesterday said: “Around 5:30-6:00pm yesterday (Wednesday), I was driving my wife and two children to Sabo in Ikire. When we got to First Bank, at the Oja-Ale roundabout, we saw a young man standing, he held a sack. He told me to stop and come down from the car. He threatened to shoot me. I got down from the car immediately.
“There was another car coming from Sabo, the man turned and started running after the car. That was how we were able to escape from the scene to a nearby house. We started hearing gunshots after that. My car was taken away by the armed robbers. But when I went to the police station to report, I saw the car there.”
A resident of Apomu, who prayed not to be named said: “Apomu residents were the one that confronted the armed robbers. My blood brother, Olusegun Olamoyero was part of those who confronted them and was shot by the robbers. He died of the gunshot later at night, and we have buried him.
“The robbery and police invasion was done at the same time. The armed robbers divided themselves into three groups to carry out the operations.
“The same time the armed robbers were robbing Access Bank at Oke-Ola, Apomu, they were also attacking the Police Station and First Bank in Ikire.
“Residents of Apomu came out to block the road at Oke-Ola so that the bandits who were attempting to rob Access Bank won’t have a way to pass. Had it been that the OPC helped the residents, they would have captured those armed robbers because as at that time, some of the robbers didn’t have bullets in their guns again.
“The robbers in Apomu called their people in Ikire to come to their aid. One of the armed robbers was held hostage by a resident, but when his colleagues from Ikire came, they shot the Apomu indigene in the leg and recued their man.
“One of the armed robbers was even shot by one of the residents. The armed robber did not die but he was shot again by his colleagues and he died instantly. They took his corpse away. That was how they were able to escape. They escaped through Araromi Owu road.”
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the policemen, comprising Prompt Response Unit (PRU), CP’s Surveillance team, IRT Operatives, STS, 39 PMF, JTF and local security operatives engaged the armed robbers when they were fleeing the community.
A press release by the Police Public Relations Officer, Osun Command, Mrs. Yemisi Opalola, indicates that the armed robbers fled into the bush with gunshot wounds, abandoning two of the operational vehicles they came with.
Opalola said the corpses of the victims of the failed bank raids have been deposited at Oluyoro Catholic Hospital morgue, Apomu.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Wale Olokode, led other security personnel to the scenes of the failed bank raids on hearing about the incident.
Olokode, who spoke on a radio programme yesterday, said policemen were still in the bush to apprehend the fleeing armed robbers, promising that the Police would ensure that they were all arrested and prosecuted.
He urged members of the public not to be disturbed by the security skirmishes, saying that Osun is relatively peaceful.
The Chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in Ikire, Mr. Adegbite Adedokun, said: “When these armed robbers came, they started shooting sporadically. As they attacked First Bank in Ikire, they were at the same time attacking Access Bank in Apomu. They also attacked the Police Headquarters in Ikire.
“We cannot ascertain whether they were coming from Ibadan or Gbongan ends. The attack was an unexpected one. We just finished our security meeting at Ikire and we were about to disperse when it happened. But at Apomu, the people resisted and the armed robbers had to escape through Orile-Owu road.
“They parked their vehicles and ran into the bush. So we were not able to apprehend them. The civilians in Apomu resisted. All of them got up and started throwing stones and bottles at them. But at Ikire, nobody was able to dare them due to the kind of riffles they carried. The sounds of their guns were terrible. Even they fired into the Akire Palace gate and the ammunition penetrated into the palace.
“As at now, lkire is very calm, people are going about their normal businesses.”