Molly Kilete, Abuja
Four armed robbery suspects who invaded the First Bank branch at Mpape, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), met stiff resistance from a combined team of soldiers and policemen who engaged them in a fierce gun duel.
The suspects’ names withheld had successfully disarmed the mobile police personnel attached to the bank before gaining entry into the banking hall where customers had gone to make withdrawals and deposits.
It was gathered that the robbers got to the bank at about few minutes to 12 O’ clock in the afternoon, opened fire and disarmed the mobile policemen on duty at the bank and held everyone in the banking hall hostage before the arrival of the soldiers deployed from the 7 Guards Battalion, which is located not too far from the scene of crime.
At the end of the gun duel which lasted about two and half hours, one of the robbers was shot dead, another one surrendered when he could no longer withstand the fire power of the combined team of soldiers and the police, while the remaining two were captured right inside the banking hall by the team.
It was gathered that the robber who surrendered to the security team had confessed that the operation was actually carried out in connivance with one of the bank staff.
The robber was also said to have revealed the identity of the said bank staff to the security team.
It was gathered that the suspected staff had since been arrested and taken into custody by the police and currently undergoing interrogation to ascertain his involvement in the robbery.
Sunday Sun gathered that no life was lost nor anyone injured, except for one of the robbers who opened fire when the soldiers got access into the banking hall. He was confirmed dead after he was rushed to one of the hospitals for medical attention.
Witnesses told Sunday Sun, that the soldiers who were called in when the police could not handle the situation due to the fire powers of the robbers got to the bank premises at exactly 12:30.
It was also gathered that the police were actually playing safe since they did not know the actual number of the robbers, they did not want to take chances that would result in unnecessary loss of lives of innocent persons in the banking hall.
However, as soon as the soldiers arrived, they immediately cordoned off the area and blocked all the entry and exit points into the premises before engaging the robbers.
A few minutes after they arrived, one of the robbers came out and surrendered himself and told them their actual number and the kind of weapons they had including the ones seized from the anti-riot police personnel attached to the bank.
Shortly after, another of the robbers came out and surrendered himself leaving two behind.
Not wanting to take chances so as not to record unnecessary casualty, the soldiers were said to have gained access into the banking hall and rescued some of the staff including a female before arresting the remaining two.
One of the robbers who opened fire on the soldiers upon sighting them in the banking hall was shot dead in the process, while his other colleague was arrested unhurt.
The arrest of the robbers sent wild jubilation to residents of the area who had turned out in their large number to watch the scene from a distance.
There were shouts and jubilations as the jubilant crowd hailed the combined team of soldiers and the policemen when they brought out the arrested robbers and took them to a waiting van parked outside the banking premises.
The jubilant residents also hailed the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the Mpape who happens to be a woman as she made her way to enter her vehicle.
Normalcy was eventually restored at about a few minutes past two o’clock in the afternoon after the soldiers removed all the security checkpoints earlier mounted to prevent the robbers from escaping.