How 15 Armed Robbers unleashed Terror on Ondo community —Witnesses recount
Just like a movie when residents of Ilara Mokin in Ifedore Local Government Area, Ondo State were recounting how they escaped being hit by stray bullets fired by 15 armed robbers who about three days ago attacked a bank in the locality.
Some said it was sporadic gunshots and sound of explosives that jolted them from sleep and they fled into the bush.
Witnesses said the robbers simply walked into the community and carried the weapons, including dynamites, inside a sack bag.
They said they thought they were hired farm workers as they did not speak Yoruba language.
It was learnt that the robbers had carried out surveillance on the bank and monitored the movements of security operatives before the strike.
Another witness said the bank received some cash in the morning but the robbers were disappointed that it was just N2 million in the bank’s vault when they struck.
The robbers were said to have stationed themselves in strategic places and carried out simultaneous attacks on the bank and on the two policemen attached to it.
One of the policemen fled into the bush while the other fled to a building to hide but the robbers threw dynamites into the room where the policeman hid and he was shattered.
Some of his remains were still found in the house when our reporter visited.
Thomas Ijogo, who lived opposite the bank, said he thought the community was being attacked by criminal herdsmen.
Ijogo stated that he wanted to hide inside the house but remembered the house was built by an Army General and he reasoned that the General was the target.
He said: “I ran out of the house and hid inside the bush.
“After they left, we discovered that they were robbers. The robbers targeted the place policemen used to sit under a tree. They attacked the two policemen.
‘They blocked the both sides of the road. One of the policemen ran into this house, the other one ran into the bush. They threw dynamite into the house and it shattered the policeman.
“The bank workers said they cooperated with the robbers and they took whatever they wanted.
“In 2008, I was a security in the bank. This place was also a target by robbers who attacked the bank then. We blame the police for positioning themselves in that particular place.
“The absence of the bank will affect business transaction in the community as we will now go to the city to do banking transactions.”
Youths in the community were said to have attempted to block the road but the sporadic gunshots from the robbers made them to flee and gave the robbers leeway to escape through the old route to Akure.
The youths were said to have mobilised to set the police station in the area ablaze but was prevailed upon by the community’s elders.
They however vandalised the police station for not responding to distress call.
It was gathered that the robber had a successful operation because the police station in the locality had no operational vehicle and was low on other logistics.
Other witnesses said a staff of the Elizade University, Mr Bunmi Afuye, who was shot by the robbers, was said to have unknownly ran into the robbery operation while he was driving to work.
“We waved him to stop but he didn’t hear. He had ear piece on his ears and had his car’s windows rolled up. He drove into the robbers and they shot him in the head.”
A community leader, Fapounda Fisayo, said all efforts by the youths to stop the robbers failed due to sporadic shooting.
“It was not the police that killed the okada man but the youths wanted to burn the police station. They forgot most things here were done by the community and other individuals. The youths should know that burning the police station is not the solution,” he said.
Shops and other businesses around the bank were yet to open for business as at press time.
Policemen from the anti-bomb squad were seen to have cordoned off the bank in case there were other unexploded devices.
The robbers reportedly hijacked a bus used for supplying bread to aid their escape.
It was learnt that the driver of the van had parked to collect money from customers when the robbers accosted him and threw out all the bread.
Ondo Police spokesman, ASP Tee-Leo Ikoro, said policemen pursued the robbers but the robbers appeared to know the terrain by escaping through the forest.
Ikoro assured that the robbers would be arrested before next week.
He said the robbers used sophisticated weapons and carefully planned the operation.
The Ondo Police spokesman warned youths against attacking police facilities in case of future recurrence. Culled: The Nation