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    /logo_min.gif - 1122 Bytes The Guardian Online
    Wednesday, August 29, 2001

    Bandits kill three policemen, kidnap guard

    From Aniekan Bassey (Uyo) and Mike Ugoh (Kano)

    A FEMALE member of a robbery gang has shot dead three policemen during an attack on the Itu branch of Afribank Plc in Akwa Ibom State.

    An undisclosed sum was carted away from the bank by the bandits after subjecting the officials and customers, mostly pensioners, to almost an hour of terror on Monday morning.

    And on the same day in Kano, another set of bandits took away a civilian guard after about a four-hour operation at the popular Kofar Ruwa Motor Park and building materials market. The whereabouts of the guard remain a mystery.

    About N50 million and goods worth millions of naira were said to have been stolen from the shops.

    Akwa Ibom Police Command spokesman, Ejike Ochiabutor, gave the names of the deceased policemen as Effion Akpan, a Sergeant with force number 60690; Celestine Eke, a Corporal (39056) and Emmanuel Aguguo, a Constable (326630).

    Witnesses told The Guardian that the female robber who arrived at the bank alone pretended to be a customer and engaged the three policemen in discussion on the possibility of opening an account.

    In the middle of discussion, her male colleagues arrived in a mini-bus. Their arrival, according to a source, prompted suspicion by the policemen. Sensing danger, the female bandit pulled her gun and shot dead the policemen who accosted the intruders.

    The killing of the policemen facilitated free entry by the bandits into the banking hall where they unleashed terror on the officials and customers most of whom were pensioners who had come to collect their pensions for the month.

    On the Kano incident, a source claimed that it was a sheer display of bizzare power by a large army of the hoodlums who raided the motor parks and building materials market. On arrival at about midnight on Sunday, some of the robbers, said the source, climbed and sat on roofs, firing indiscriminately to scare away policemen.

    On Monday morning, the shop owners, after taking inventory of their losses, marched to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso's office to demand improved security.

    The traders, numbering over 200, barricaded the only entrance to the Government House, clutching green leaves and calling on God to punish the bandits.

    I.K. Ezenwaka and Johnson John, officials of the traders' association, told Kwankwaso that more than 100 shops had their doors pulled out and in some cases, the walls also.

    The governor, who later visited the market, reassured the traders of their safety and promised to fence it, rehabilitate all roads in and around it and provide water and electricity.

    He condemned the upsurge of robbery in the country and linked it to invasion by people from neighbouring countries.

    Meanwhile, the police in Akwa Ibom State are investigating last week's alleged killing of a 32-year-old University of Uyo teacher, Samuel Ayodeyi Folademi, by a driver, Francis Eyo Edet, after a brawl.

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