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10 Killed In Benue Bank Robbery



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

Men armed with explosives and sophisticated weapons, Friday afternoon, stormed and robbed selected commercial banks in Otukpo, the headquarters of Benue South District in an operation that lasted one hour.

An eyewitness said the operation claimed the lives of about ten persons, including police personnel, vigilante members and a serving councillor who was transacting business in one of the affected commercial banks.

The eyewitness stated that the hooded armed men had earlier attacked the police station in the town, where they disarmed all the personnel on duty before proceeding to the main commercial banks.

He said: “The entire thing started at about 3 pm. From nowhere young men numbering about 10 in Toyota Hilux vehicles and another small car stormed a bank and detonated explosives after which they started shooting sporadically.

“All the cars that were parked by the banks and within the area were all shattered, including the goods in people’s shops, because the banks are very close to the market.

“The explosions created pandemonium in the town and people started running in different directions for their lives.

“Amid the confusion the armed men successfully robbed three banks. They also killed about eight persons including some of the police personnel attached to the banks as well as some members of the Otukpo vigilante who attempted to confront them.

“We learnt that among those killed was a serving councillor who was in one of the banks to transact business when the armed men stormed the premises.

“After successfully robbing the banks the armed men carted away money in bags, shooting into the air to scare away the people and headed towards Makurdi via the Makurdi-Otukpo Road.

“Like what we see in the movies, as they drove past the streets of Otuklo they continued to shoot sporadically forcing people to scamper as if there is no security in the town.”

Meanwhile the traditional ruler of Otukpo, Ochi Otukpo Odu, HRH Chief John Eimonye, who confirmed the development said security personnel were after the thieves.

He said: “After robbing the banks, they headed towards Makurdi but I can assure you that the security personnel including soldiers and the police are giving them a hot chase as I speak with you.

“So they will certainly not escape.”

However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Catherine Anene who confirmed the incident, said she was expecting details from Police personnel on the ground in Otukpo.

She said: “I have not been able to speak with the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, or any of the officers there but I know there is an incident.

“I don’t want to be disturbing them so let’s give it some time,” she added