Barely four days after the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Adube, paraded some armed robbery suspects and announced the seizure of dollars worth N3.9 million, some daredevil armed robbers today unleashed horror on the Ibuza community in the Oshimili North local government area. The robbers, who reportedly numbered eight, left a trail of death that claimed the lives of six policemen, including a Divisional Police Officer, as well as a soldier.
One of the police victims, Tim Chibukewe, was the DPO in charge of Abraka. Another police casualty, John Danladi, was described as “a popular crime buster.”
Several eyewitnesses said the armed robbery gang stormed Ibusa town in a red Toyota Camry and a bus and held the town hostage. They raided two banks, carting away a huge but yet undetermined amount of cash.
A police source said that law enforcement agents stormed the scene of the robbery and exchanged gunfire with the robbers, killing five of them as the others escaped through Ogwashi-Uku.
We learnt that Mr. Danladi, as assistant superintendent of police, commanded the anti-robbery squad. Mr. Danladi, who was reportedly ordained “an evangelist” two days ago at the Tree of Life Church Ogwashi-Uku, led the anti-robbery squad that chased the criminals to Igbodo along Benin-Agbor-Asaba expressway where the police officers lost their lives to the robbers’ superior gunfire.
SaharaReporters learnt that the robbers also killed another man simply identified as a pastor. The man reportedly died during the robbers’ raid on a bank.
The Abraka DPO reportedly lost his life when he ran into the robbers at Igbodo on his way to Asaba.
One eyewitness source told SaharaReporters: “It was also in my presence that one of the robbers was killed by the people. The suspect was in the midst of several people and was shooting into the air while looking for an escape route. But he ran out of bullet and the people cashed-in on that to attack him. They hit an iron rod on his head and he fell down before the people set him ablaze. Another member of the robbery gang was also burnt by the mob although I can’t tell how he was killed.”
Other witnesses said the exchange of gunfire during the robbery was like a scene in a commando movie.
“In fact, this place was turned into a war zone of some sort as the robbers exchanged fire for fire with policemen. I have never seen this kind of situation in real life before,” said one source. Another witness said, “I must commend the police for rising to the occasion. The police blocked all the exit routes and confined the robbers within the town where the exchange took place. We were practically picking bullets from the ground.”
The Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Charles Muka, confirmed the tragic event. However, he stated that only four police officers were killed, adding that a soldier also died. He disclosed that five members of the robbery gang lost their lives during a gun battle and that the police recovered bags of money and ammunition from the fleeing hoodlums.
The bodies of the police casualties were deposited at a mortuary.
Mr. Muka stated that the police had spread their dragnet to track down the robbers who escaped.
Meanwhile, Mr. Danladi’s death has thrown Ogwashi-Uku into a state of mourning. Many residents of the town described Mr. Danladi as a man with a reputation for combating armed robbers without fear. Mr. Danladi had received several awards from various institutions and the state’s police command for gallantry.