Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lagos robbers seem to be bouncing back

The damaged APC and the bullet-ridden security house
Image: Punch
It would seem the robbers are getting their rhythm back in Lagos. The police would have to redouble their efforts to chase them out again.

The Punch reported today that robbers struck in three different places in the past three days. Two policemen were reportedly killed by armed robbers in the Ejigbo and Orile Iganmu areas of Lagos State on Sunday.

The robbers killed a police inspector in Ejigbo while a corporal was killed in Orile Iganmu in the separate incidents. Three other policemen were injured in the attack in Orile-Iganmu.

The most daring was the one at Regal Seaview Estate, Lekki, Lagos, where robbers reportedly ransacked houses for about an hour.

It was learnt that the robbers, numbering over 20, besieged the estate at about 12:25am in four vehicles.

Eyewitnesses said the robbers, who drove into the estate in a Honda, Toyota Sienna mini-bus, a black Prado jeep and a Hilux van, were armed with various sophisticated weapons.

It was learnt that some of the robbers mounted roadblocks at Elf Junction and Ikate Roundabout, which serve as access routes into the community while the operation lasted.

One of the security guards attached to the estate, who identified himself simply as Emmanuel, said the attack seemed like a war.

He said no sooner had he opened the gate for a resident than the robbers, who had already taken position in the area, took control of the gate from him and gained entry.

He said, “Four of the robbers came down from the vehicles and flung the gate open. They subsequently drove the vehicles into the estate and seized me. The other guard who was manning the gate with me abandoned the duty post and ran into the estate.

“They asked if there were riot policemen in the estate and directed me to point at houses occupied by rich men. When I declined to tell them, two of them who were asked to stay with me beat me mercilessly and hit me with gun butts and also threatened to kill me.”

He said the robbers then moved from house to house before policemen attached to the residence of a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police in the area tried to resist them but were later overpowered by the bandits.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the policemen attached to the DIG’s residence quickly radioed Maroko Police Division and the Rapid Response Squad for reinforcement.

It was gathered that policemen in six vans and an Armoured Personnel Carrier were deployed in the estate. However, the robbers who had got wind of the development started shooting sporadically into different directions.

A resident, Ifeanyi Eze, said an attempt by the policemen to block the entrance of the gate with the APC was rebuffed by the robbers.

He said, “The fatalities would have been much if not that the policemen in the other six vehicles stayed behind and allowed the APC to attack first. The APC came under intense fire.

“The policemen exchanged gunfire with them but this didn’t have much effect as they were not given the chance to strategise and forge a coordinated attack. As a result of this, they had to turn back and flee the scene. This gave the robbers the leeway to escape with their loot.”

“The windscreen of the APC marked RRS 287 LA was riddled with bullets and was said to have developed a major fault as a result of the incident.

One of the victims described the guns wielded by the bandits as “standard military issued weapons” which are unconventional. He said the robbers fired about a thousand times while the incident lasted.

He said, “They were five in number in our house and were fully armed; they immediately marched me and my mother to her room and started ransacking everywhere.

‘’When we could not give them the American dollars they asked for, they made away with three laptops, my mum’s jewellery and, unfortunately, her wedding ring.”

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