LAGOS—Fresh facts emerged yesterday, on the circumstances that led to the gun duel between a 13-man robbery gang and policemen from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Area ‘G’ command, Ogba, weekend, with seven of the robbery suspects shot during the encounter, said to have died.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the robbery suspects who were, 13 in number, came from OgunState and were heading to Ajao estate area of Lagos, where they intended to raid the Osolo branch of an old generation bank, Friday. While three of the robbery suspects constituted an advance party.
Vanguard gathered however that their mission, was rendered unaccomplished as the Lagos State Command, which was said to have got wind of their action, laid ambush for them at Abule-Egba, along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway .
On sighting the policemen, the bandits moved in two vehicles; a Toyota Sienna with number plate AKD 54 AG and Nissan Sunny car with number plate BT 914 APP, opened fire, thereby leading to a gun duel which lasted close to an hour.
They reportedly bowed to the superior fire power of the policemen who out-numbered them, thereby leading to the arrest of the suspected robbers.
Vanguard reliably gathered yesterday that seven of the injured suspects had died as a result of the bullet wounds they sustained.
It could, however, not be ascertained whether any innocent person was hit during the cross fire, as motorists reportedly deserted the route while commuters took to their heels.
Five AK 47 riffles, five double barrel cut-to-size and a total of 535 live cartridges, according to spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide, were recovered at the end of the encounter.
Meantime, unknown to the Police, three suspected members of the gang were already positioned close to the bank, waiting for the arrival of their colleagues.
During the long wait, they reportedly overheard the encounter with policemen from a radio broadcast but could not ascertain if their colleagues were the robbers in question.
Police sources hinted that during interrogation, one of the arrested suspects disclosed the information to the operatives.
“When we were informed, we used the telephone number of one of the arrested suspects to contact their colleagues at Ajao, making him sound as if they were still on their way. They even told them they heard there was shoot-out at Abule-Egba and wanted to find out if it involved them”, sources said.
But when the operatives reportedly stormed Ajao area, the suspects who sensed danger, had reportedly fled the scene. They were, however, reportedly trailed to a hotel around the area, where one of them, a 48-year-old man whose identity was given simply given as Muftau, was arrested while his colleagues were said to have managed to escape.
During interrogation, Muftau reportedly disclosed that his fleeing colleagues had a rocket launcher, three AK 47 riffles and a total of 600 cartridges in their vehicle.
Identities of the other suspected robbers in Police net were given simply as Oluwaseyi, 27 and Kabiru 25.
Braide also confirmed the arrest of three suspected members of the gang, describing the suspects attempt as a foiled one, adding that efforts was still on to arrest other fleeing members.