… Killed One, Others on the Run
… Rescue Travellers along Ogoja-Ikom Way
By Esther Nworie and Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
There was palpable fear in Igbeagu Community Izzi LGA, Ebonyi State between 1:32am-3:46 am of Wednesday 22nd July, 2020 following several hours of shoot out as highway robbers engage the police in gun battle, at the end of which, a robber whose name is yet to be identified was shot dead.
Citizens’ Advocate gathered that the alleged highway robbers had on different occasions stationed before the popular Onuoguzo Idike bus stop, robbing market women who are traveling to the North for business.
It was also gathered that the alleged highway robbers who were said to be numbering about 4 on that fateful night were at their usual operation when men of Nigeria Police Force (Ak unit) stormed the place and engaged them on a face-off.
Also learnt was that during the several hours exchange of bullet between the armed men, that one of the robbers whose name is yet to be identified was shot dead with one of them hit by bullet but was rescued by his men who escaped with him to an unknown hideout.
Narrating the incident, one of the villagers who gave his name as Mr. Augustine Ijere said that on that Wednesday night that the village and her neighbouring Community was put to fear as sounds of gunshots kept them awake for several hours.
He said his family members were forced to keep vigil until they heard police siren confirming that the gun battle was between the armed robbers and the police, commending the team for their relentless effort in challenging the criminals.
It was however learnt that two police officers were shot on the stomach and on the cheek during the shootout as the suspected armed men who blocked the highway robbing travelers ambushed the police and engaged them in a shootout.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebonyi Command, DSP Loveth Odah confirmed the report and said the affected officers are responding to treatment in the hospital.
She explained that the road has been cleared for travelers while there is manhunt to track the suspects who fled through the bush.
“Ebonyi State Police Command made a breakthrough early hours of today and we are delighted about it.
Road users from Ikom to Abakaliki; that is, Ogoja-Abakaliki Expressway, from Nwandugo Junction to Nwezenyi where travellers used to stop once it is 10pm as a result of the Covid 19 lockdown alerted us.
“The hoodlums blocked the federal highway and were robbing travellers.
“On a tip-off from commercial road users, the Izzi Division swiftly swung into action and when they got there as usual, they released a warning gunshot to know if the hoodlums were still operating there. But to their greatest surprise, the place was too calm so, they jumped down to dismantle the road block.
“As they were dismantling the roadblock, the armed robbers who laid in ambush waiting for the police opened fire on them and the team leader was shot on the stomach and another policeman was also shot on the cheek as well as sustained injuries on the left side of the mouth.”
“So the gun battle began and at the end of the day, one of hoodlums was gunned down and an Ak 47 riffle with one exhausted magazine and many empty shells were recovered.”
“The motorcycle the hoodlums used was also recovered as well as the charm one of them used to serve as bullet proof. Unfortunately for him the charm disappointed him yesterday. The hoodlum who was gunned down is yet to be identified, although no one would like to be identified with a criminal.
“Commissioner of police has visited the hospital where the policemen are being treated. But as I’m talking to you, both of them are responding to treatment.
“We are still on manhunt to ensure that the fleeing suspects are arrested.
Residents of Ebonyi should help us with any useful information that will help us track down the remaining suspects.
“The road has been cleared for users and movement has commenced as usual.Follow us