AGENE GODWIN, Benin
A vigilante group in Igarra, Wednesday, gave an insight into how the organization scuttled the escape of the armed robbers who raided two banks in Igarra community in Akoko Edo council area of Edo State, wounding one of the robbers and impounding a vehicle belonging to the gang, in the process.
An unspecified number of armed robbers in two cars stormed the Igarra community, Tuesday, raiding two commercial banks in the early evening operation, and killing two policemen as well four others, two believed to be bank customers in the premises who had come to use the ATMs.
However, the vigilante groups also suffered a casualty as one of their members reportedly died in action.
However, it was gathered Wednesday that the two suspected robbers arrested by the police Wednesday carried gunshot wounds; one on the head and the other in his leg.
A leader of one of the vigilante group, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his members were mobilised from the Ojirami, Ojah axis when it was learnt the robbers had taken over Igarra and those in these areas immediately contacted their counterparts in Ososo, Makeke, Lampese and environs.
According to him, they were instructed to barricade the Ekpedo-Ekpe axis of the road with tyres, stones, logs and other obstacles across 30 to 50 metres which slowed down the robbers’ escape bid.
“We had to swing into action to give support because the robbers had already disorganised security in Igarra. So we had to quickly call on our members in Ojirami and Ojah who then also alerted others because we suspected they will pass through that axis. The robbers shot and deflated the vehicle of the DPO (Divisional Police Officer) in which police were using in the pursuit of the hoodlums after they (police) had killed one of them.
“We mounted barricades near Ekpedo to slow down their (robbers) movements. We did that with stones, tyres, logs and any hard object we could find. We mounted these barricades along almost 50 metres so it really slowed them down. And that disorganised them and they were forced to flee into the bush. They abandoned some guns and money in order to reduce load as they ran into the bush.
“The one (robber) that was caught on Tuesday night had whistled apparently to contact any of his fellow robbers who he thought may be in hiding with him, and a member of the vigilante group responded and that lured the suspect out. The two that were arrested Wednesday in a forest near Makeke with gunshot wounds had wanted to disguise as farmers and come out of the forest but they could not because they could change their clothing. We suspected they are from Okenne in Kogi State because they were speaking Igbira,” said the vigilante leader.
He said all vigilante groups in neighbouring Kogi and Ondo states have been alerted and even military formations around have been alerted for more combing and possible arrests as he said he believed many of them would still be hiding in the forests in that area.
Meanwhile the lawmaker representing Akoko-Edo constituency 11, Emma Agbaje has condemned the incident.
A statement issued through his Personal Assistant, Eyonivi Asaham, Wednesday, condoled with the families of the dead and the injured even as he commended security agencies for their quick and timely response. “No degree of joblessness is worth taking the life of anybody,” he said.