By James Sowole
The commercial town of Ikare, the headquarters of Akoko North East Local Government Area of Ondo State was on Monday night, thrown into panic when suspected armed robbers attacked three commercial banks simultaneously with dynamite and sporadic gunshots, killing five persons at the end of the operation.
Interestingly, one of the banks attacked by the robbers was set ablaze out of frustration by the robbers when they could not gain entrance into the bank’s vault, while the security barriers at other banks were damaged before they fled the town.
THISDAY gathered that those killed included two commercial motorcycle operators, a pastor, a security guard attached to one of the banks and a boy simply identified as Oniwu.
It was equally gathered that robbers, who were said to be about 30 in number, on their arrival in the commercial town around 10p.m. went straight to the police station, sacked the place while policemen on
duty took to their heels following their inability to confront the superior gun power of the
Police sources however said the men did not flee but requested for more reinforcement at Owo, a distance of about 50 kilometres to the scene of the incident and before their arrival, the robbers had moved to the premises of the banks where they attempted to blow off the bullet proof doors with dynamite.
The deafening sound of the dynamite threw the entire residents into confucion as they thought the town was being attacked by the Boko Haram sect.
Also, the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) stationed at the town to control robbery attacks was badly damaged with the driver, a policeman, now on a danger list at an undisclosed hospital along with several others that sustained injuries as a result of the sporadic gun shooting.
THISDAY also gathered that a group of armed robbers had earlier on same day laid siege on Akure/Owo highway dispossessing travellers their valuables before they were dislodged by policemen who engaged them in a gun battle.
Two of the robbers that attacked travellers on the road were killed by the policemen.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Adeniran Aremu, explained that those who were killed were hit by the bullets of the robbers who shot sporadically into the air and that they came out of their homes when they heard the sounds of the guns.
Adeniran said men from the Owo Area Command and from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), were mobilised to join their colleagues at Ikare.
The police spokesman said more policemen had been deployed to the town while effort has commenced to track down the fleeing robbers.