Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River Police Command has killed five suspected armed robbers in Calabar South.
The bandits, who are said to belong to a gang that has been terrorising residents of Calabar metropolis, were killed in a gun duel shortly after robbing petrol stations at Atu and Target Street on Sunday.
An eye-witness, Mr Eze Ugo, said the hoodlums had successfully robbed a super market shop at Marian and a petrol station at Atu and headed straight to Target to continue their operations before the security operatives got distress calls and moved in.
Ugo said: “After their successful operation, the hoodlums were heading to Calabar South passing through Marian. The speed with which they drove forced a taxi cab to ram into the INEC fence out of fear.
“Incidentally, that was when the army patrol van was driving out of the barracks. They also had witnessed the speed with which they drove.
“This forced the army men to pursue them shooting as they moved on. I am glad that all five robbers were shot dead after a sporadic shooting from both ends.”
Briefing newsmen on the incident at the Atakpa Police Station, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hafiz Inuwa, said the robbers invaded the filling station on Sunday morning.
Inuwa said: “Some of these armed robbers are giving us problem in Calabar municipality. These set of robbers were caught up in a gun battle with the police shortly after they robbed a filling station in Atu area of Calabar South.
“They had a shoot-out with the police and our men were able to gun down five of them. These were the same gang that we already have their profile in our custody.
“We have been on the watch out for them because they were the same people that snatched two AK47 rifles from our men.
“This is a pointer to the fact that the police and other security agencies will not rest until the state is free from all forms if illegalities,’’ he said.
The CP maintained that anybody who decides to take up arms against law abiding citizens in the state will have themselves to blame because the police was out for fire-for-fire.
“Election is coming, the Calabar carnival is around the corner; we are not going to spare any criminal in the state.
“I am calling on parent to be on the watch out on their wards because taking arms against anybody will not be tolerated,’’ he warned.
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Commending the security operatives for the prompt response, the State Security Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade of the state, Mr Ani Esin, said his office was working in collaboration with security agencies in the state with a view to reduce crime rate.
Esin said all necessary infrastructure had been put in place to ensure that the Christmas period is celebrated peacefully in the state.
“We are trying to revamp all the security units across the state and to also empower the security agencies because we want to feel their presence at every corner especially now that we are having thousands of visitors in the state.”