Dreaded armed robbers attacked Offa Local gvoernment area in Kwara state on Thursday and killed nine policemen, 1 pregnant woman and many others, including residents and bank customers.
A report by Punch revealed that the robbers who numbered close to 30 robbed five banks for more than one hour. The banks allegedly affected by the raids are Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Union Bank and Eco Bank.
The robbers, who entered the area around 4pm, shot continuously to scare aware some residents. They reportedly blocked roads from both Ilorin and Oshogbo and entered Owode Police Station in the metropolis.
They were said to have shot dead four policemen at the division, including some complainants.
Among those reportedly killed by the robbers were a police officer, who was expected to retire in the next few months, and a pregnant policewoman.
The gunmen made away with millions of naira after shattering bank buildings, terrorising workers, customers and passersby, as well as traders and other people in the vicinity.
A witness, who did not want to be identified, said he saw the corpses of six policemen.
“The ground was littered with corpses. Many people died. I counted six corpses of some policemen at the scene,” he said.
An Internet user said cars on the banks premises were also burnt.
He said, “My siblings just came back home. They were on their way back to church and were caught in the crossfire close to Zenith Bank.
“According to them, no military force confronted the robbers throughout the operation. They used dynamite and crazy guns.
“They saw four people killed. They would have been killed because after they (robbers) finished the operation, a few of them opined that they should release gunfire on them (my siblings and those close to them), but a man, who seemed to be their boss, told them they had little time left and had no option than to exit immediately. Cars were burnt; cars were stolen. They exited through Igbosun route.”
Graphic pictures of slain policemen and residents were posted by some residents on the Internet.
The Kwara State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi on Friday confirmed that nine policemen, a pregnant woman and 7 others were killed by armed robbers who attacked five banks yesterday, according to a report by The Nation.
The robbers carted away millions of naira. They broke into the banks with dynamite. He said the police is doing everything possible to bring the culprits to book.
There were also reports that the robbers, in their bid to escape from Kwara also killed two mobile policemen in Okuku, Osun state while they also reportedly abandoned three of their operational vehicles on the road.
The pregnant woman killed by the robbers was identified as Omilola Korede. She was said to have gone to lodge a complaint over a transaction in one of the banks. She also reportedly went with her son and when the robbers came, they sprayed the two of them with bullets. She died with the pregnancy.
Three other women who lost their lives to the attack have also been identified as Bunmi Mesan, Iya Muji and another one popularly called Mama the Big Club.
A survivor of the attack, who said he hid somewhere inside one of the banks during the attack narrated his experience and said: “My brother, it is not something to recall or witness. I don’t even pray it for my enemies. It was a terrible moment with death looking at us; I still can’t talk much about it”.
The Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi was lost for words when contacted yesterday. He told newsmen the destruction was too enormous that he could not say anything yet.
The Emir of Ilorin Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari condemned the armed robbery attacks describing them as barbaric, disheartening and ungodly.
He however urged clerics across the state to use the occasion of Friday jumat service embark on special prayers for the nation especially Kwara State stressing that, “My prayer has always being seeing a peaceful and prosperous state of harmony where live and property would be adequately guaranteed.”
A security expert and Chief Executive Officer of PlaySafe Lifecare Foundation, Mr. Banjo Famuyiwa, queried the numerical strength of the police in the community, given its population and number of banks.
He said: “The number of policemen available to the community is low given the population and number of banks. The police post is also very close to the road; there are no strong barriers, once you branch off the road the next thing is the station. Also in some countries, you allow banks to use their personal security and I think we should do the same here instead of wasting the lives of our policemen again andagain. There should be no law that forbid banks from having their own security”.