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Return of armed terror... Robbers hold residents, bank hostage

Posted by The Port HArcourt Telegraph on 2005/05/27 | Views: 256 |

Return of armed terror... Robbers hold residents, bank hostage


The messengers of death made their way from the creeks. There were about ten of them in the speedboat.

The messengers of death made their way from the creeks. There were about ten of them in the speedboat.

They apparently had chosen a safe point to land and drop anchors around the Dock Yard/Bundu area earlier. At the shore, they anchored the boat and made their way into town, some say, on motorbikes.

It is not clear if the bikers who brought them in knew who they were carrying.
As silently as they had mingled with the crowd they took positions, and guns of very high calibre emerged from their hiding places and began pumping hot lead.

Soon, everybody around Lagos Bus Stop - those on foot, in commercial vehicles, motorbikes and private cars drove as if the devil was really after them, heading for Degema Street, Hospital Road, Freetown and other access routes within the vicinity.

Along Agrrey and other adjourning streets people ran. Others tumbled over sustaining severe injuries in the process.
At Radio Rivers, a man in a mad rush to stay alive found the gates to the corporation had been securely locked.
Without minding the danger posed by the protruding ends of the metallic gate, he scaled it.

As the guns of the gang blazed dangerously, two policemen posted to a GSM shop at 2A Aggrey Road caught the attention of killers at noon.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened here.

Some say the police opened fire on the men suspected to be robbers. Others say the policemen who saw them attempting to take on the bank were trying to scurry to safety when the bullets fired from the gang boys hit them.
But the police provides the answers through its press release which said the two gallant policemen engaged the robbers in a gun battle before they were killed.

From what was pieced together by our men on the ground, the hoodlums allegedly went ahead to loot the phone shop guarded by the policemen in their life time..
Outside the shooting continued unabated as the hoodlums advanced, this time in the direction of the Standard Trust Bank, that many observers agree may have been the target, if the motive was armed robbery.

By this time, many around the bank had taken to their heels.
How much was eventually looted from the bank has not been made public and no official statement has come so far from the bank authorities.

The impunity with which the hoodlums struck and the time they took while operating raised fears the bad boys may be back despite all the efforts by government to guarantee a stable and peaceful climate.
But the police and indeed the authorities do not think what took place was a cult attack.

The police in its statement said there was no evidence the raid was cult related.
They rather said the operation had all the trappings of an armed robbery attack.

In pursuing this line of thinking the police appear to have a case.
A gang of armed robbers have been busy in the last few months raiding local government councils.

Thus far, they have raided Oyigbo Omuma and Ahoada West.
Robbers have been at work stealing millions of naira from Banks in Bonny Local Government area.

Like those who struck in Port Harcourt Thursday, the hoodlums appear to be masters of the waterways, using boats when they have finished to escape into the rain forest from whence they came.

This, more than any piece of evidence, suggest that in all cases, looting cash has been the prime motive.

Seen from this perspective, the position being taken by the police in favour of armed robbery can be better understood.

Yet, as in all cases, there were cynics who appeared to think differently.
For this class, those who struck may not be ordinary armed robbers.
Some how, their position lacks proof. The cult groups had returned their weapons in the open and received cash for their compliance.

So, with the cults apparently disarmed, the feeling is that they may not be the ones who struck at Lagos Bus Stop Thursday.

When the Telegraph visited the scene immediately after the incident, a loud hush had fallen over the area.

There were blood marks where the bullets had found targets.
The GSM shop was completely riddled with bullets and spent shells could be found everywhere.

A closer look revealed that the bullets had bored holes in the wall and pieced through the iron gates that were supposed to keep intruders at bay.

It was proof that the boys, who ever they are had high calibre precision bullets in use during the operation. It probably has given an insight into the nature of the guns that they came with that could have included G3s and AK47s.
As the dust settles, there are families that now wear mournful looks.

The policemen were not the only persons who went down in a hail of bullets.
A GSM operator was cut down. So was a teacher at the St Mary's Primary School and her child, and kid who was returning from school.

Others who had encounters with deadly bullets included a pastor, another phone operator as well as the sales girl at the GSM shop and an unfortunate Okada rider.

In the meantime, government is not letting the matter lie low.
There were reportedly top-level security meetings most of Thursday evening designed to map out strategies to contain whatever threat that may arise.
Governor Odili who returned the same day reportedly took charge of the situation.

The police nonetheless advised the people to go about their normal businesses, saying it had everything under control even as people simply wish the whole thing was a bad dream.

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.