A bank robbery that occurred in Igede-Ekiti, headquarters of Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State, late on Wednesday claimed two lives, while others sustained varying degrees of injury.
The incident was confirmed yesterday by the state police command.
The seven-man armed gang, besieged a first generation bank located in the community where they killed the guard and a worker of the financial institution, in the operation that lasted about 15 minutes.
The robbers were said to have attacked the bank in a Gestapo-like manner by blowing up the Automated Tellers Machines (ATM) with bullets, which caused panic within the vicinity of the bank.
Eyewitness revealed that the robbers gained entry into the banking hall before being resisted by the police, saying no one could ascertain whether money was carted away or not.
“The bank was close to the community and owing to its proximity, people were really affected by the gunshots.
They had to run in different directions for their lives. We know a bank worker and a guard were killed, but we can’t say much about their identities,” he added.
Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday in reaction to the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, said more policemen had been deployed to banks to curtail activities of men of the underworld across the state.
Ikechukwu said there was exchange of gunfire between his men and the bandits, this he said botched the operation as the robbers had to flee the scene knowing fully well that the police were closing in on them.
He revealed that the guard, who was shot in the head, died in the premises of the bank while the injured banker died in the hospital.
He, however, did not confirm if the robbers made away with any cash from the bank.
The PPRO added that the robbers, who had wished to escape through Ilawe-Igede road, later drove into the bush and escaped into the thick forest between the two towns.
He said the expansive forest has been rounded up by the police who are combing the bush in search of the robbers.
“The robbers would have done more havoc than they did, but for prompt action taken by our men.
There was exchange of gunshots between the bandits and our personnel, who tried their best to manage the situation.
The operation was regrettable and the death of the two persons was painful.
“The command is stepping up its intelligence gathering skill and operation.
As a temporary measure, we are going to deploy more men to the banks to make the place safe for staff and customers.
If you are on ground in Igede now, more men have been deployed, particularly the mobile police unit. We are doing same across the state.”
Ikechukwu urged members of the public to go about their normal businesses, assuring that the police are on top of the situation.
When newsmen visited the bank yesterday, broken doors and windows of the bank appeared to have been blown off with dynamite, while bloodstains were still visible.