Daredevil armed robbers on Friday afternoon killed several people at Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State.
The robbers stormed four commercial banks – First Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Stanbic IBTC, and Zenith Plc – around noon on Friday, witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.
Sewuese Anene, police spokesperson in Benue State, confirmed the incident to this newspaper in a telephone call.
Ms Anene did not provide details of how it happened.
“The armed robbers stormed the four banks in Otukpo metropolis on Friday after and began to shoot sporadically. They killed about 10 people. It was like hell,” a witness told this reporter in a telephone call on Friday evening.
A passer-by who did not want his name in print said the criminals killed both customers who were in the banking halls and passers-by.
First Bank Plc is located along the Otukpo-Enugu highway opposite the Police Area Command in Otukpo.
But witnesses said there was no police response to the attack as the hoodlums had a field day.
How it happened
The hooded criminals drove into Otukpo town in Toyota Hilux vehicles and cars from the Otukpa axis of the Otukpo-Enugu highway.
“They first stormed Zenith Bank and then quickly spread out to the three other banks where they robbed simultaneously.
“The robbers rained bullets from all directions which hit passers-by and bank customers, but the police took cover for the over two hours that the operation lasted,” a resident in Otukpo metropolis narrated.
The Otukpo Divisional Police Officer (DPO), whose name could not be ascertained as of press time, was hit by bullets and taken to an undisclosed hospital, sources said.
Videos of the attack went viral on Facebook.
In some of the videos, this reporter saw lifeless bodies drenched in blood in banking halls and in the streets of Otukpo.
A car with blaring sirens was seen conveying corpses to the morgue as onlookers ran after the car.
A source said when the robbers were done, they headed out of the town through the Otukpo-Aliade highway.
Otukpo in a glimpse
Otukpo is the headquarters of the Benue South Senatorial District.
The senatorial district comprises nine local government areas inhabited largely by the Idoma and Igede tribes.
The town has had its own share of armed banditry and kidnapping that have rocked Benue State for years now.
But the magnitude of Friday’s deadly attack exposes the failure of intelligence.
“Of the four roads that crisscross Otukpo, there are police and military checkpoints. One wonders how these hoodlums operated for two hours without any form of resistance from the military and the police,” a resident of Otukpo wondered.
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