Monday, 14 December 2015

Four injured as police foil bank robbery in Rivers

FOUR persons, including a policeman, were injured on Monday when daredevil armed robbers engaged security operatives in a fierce gun battle in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The hoodlums, who were said to be planning to rob one of the new generation banks on the ever busy Ikwerre road, were stopped by a group of police who apparently got wind of their (armed robbers) presence within the area.
It was learnt that the robbers, who were armed with AK-47 rifles came in three vehicles at about 12.30pm and shot sporadically in order to repel the advancing policemen to no avail.
An eyewitness said the superior fire power of the policemen had forced the policemen to make a U-turn and escaped through another road.
A trader on Ikwerre road told our correspondent that the armed robbers came in one Sienna bus, a Luxus Sport Utility Vehicle and another unidentified vehicle.
Motorists and passersby were said to have disappeared from the usually crowded Emenike Junction as the deafening sound of gunshots caused them to scamper for safety.
One of those who was hit by a stray bullet on the thigh was an occupant of a commercial bus. The bullet, according to sources came from the side of the bandits.
“All the drivers, passengers and those selling along the road ran away when they heard the non-stop sound of gunshots. We were all afraid because we initially thought that we will not escape from the flying bullets.
“We thank God that no innocent person died during the shootout. I heard that one policeman and three other persons were injured. The armed robbers managed to escape, though the police tried their best.
“The armed robbers opened the two side doors of their Sienna bus and were shooting from there. Another group of armed robbers was in a Toyota jeep while the others were in a vehicle at the back.
“The car at the back provided the escape route for the others and all these happened within 15 minutes,” another eyewitness, Kelechi, who is a bus driver, said.
Confirming the incident, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ahmad Mohammad, said the quick response by the police foiled a bank robbery within the Ikwerre axis of Port Harcourt.
He said the police got a distressed call about the presence of armed robbers around Ikwerre road and immediately swung into action.
Mohammad, however, stated that four persons, including a policeman was injured during the exchange of fire, adding that those affected were rushed to a nearby hospital.
“It was a foiled bank robbery. Nobody lost his life, but four persons, including a police minor injuries,” the state police spokesman stressed.
He, however, added that investigation was ongoing with a view to arresting the hoodlums and bring them to book, just as he assured members of the public that the police would not fail in its responsibility to protect lives and property in the state.
Mohammad warned armed robbers, cultists and kidnappers to leave the state or be ready to face the wrath of the law whenever they were apprehended.
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