Daredevil armed robbers on Friday invaded a commercial bank inside the Rivers State University of Science and Technology and killed two persons before escaping with sacks containing undisclosed amount of money.
Witnesses, the police and the university authority said the robbers numbering six trailed a bullion van into the university at about 3.30 p.m.
Immediately bank officials started offloading money from the van, the robbers, who came in a Toyota Highlander car; opened fire and swiftly snatched the money in two “Ghana-must-go” bags and escaped through the over-crowded back gates of the university.
A student, who witnessed the daring operation, told PREMIUM TIMES how students and visitors scampered for safety in different directions as the hoodlums shot sporadically in front of the commercial bank.
The student, who would not give his name for security reasons said, while trying to escape from the campus, the robbers shot and killed an unidentified person while injuring five others.
Another witness, who gave his name simply as Chuks, said as soon as the bandits got outside the university premises, some policemen engaged them in a shootout as they sped through the crowded Iloabuchi and Nsuka streets in Mile One area of Port Harcourt.
Apparently, the police shot and busted one of the tyres of their getaway vehicle but in a desperate move to escape, Mr. Chuks said the robbers shot and killed a driver of a sport utility vehicle and dragged his corpse down before escaping with the vehicle.
“The armed robbers were fearless. They entered the state University of Science and Technology, went straight to the bullion van and opened fire,” said a witness.
“They killed one person instantly while five others who were injured were rushed to the hospital. It is shocking that armed robbers can operate successfully inside the campus and go scot-free.
“What I am talking about happened around 3.30pm. They came in through the main gate and left through the back gate of the university. The bank locked their customers inside during the attack.”
While the robbery was going on, PREMIUM TIMES learnt residents of the neighbourhood including traders and motorists fled the area.
The Public Relations Officer of UST, Desmond Wosu, confirmed the attack on the university to journalists.
Similarly, the Rivers state Police Public Relations Officer, Ahmad Mohammad, said the robbers attacked a bullion van conveying an undisclosed amount of money belonging to a commercial bank located inside the university.
“When the robbers sensed that policemen were getting close to them, they jettisoned the operation and abandoned their operational vehicle, including an unspecified amount of money in locked bags. They escaped after robbing a vehicle from a motorist,” Mr. Mohammed said.
“Items recovered from the foiled robbery include their operational vehicle – a gold-coloured Toyota Highlander, one Barretta pistol, one scorpion rifle, 11 AK-47 magazines, 63 assorted live ammunition, two objects suspected to be dynamite, a charm and different vehicle number plates.
“A close examination of their vehicle indicated that the armed robbers sustained gunshot wounds as it was soaked with blood. One person lost his life.”
The PPRO, however, appealed to members of the public to report persons with gunshot wounds the nearest police station in the state.