The police in Benue State, on Saturday confirmed that the Otukpo Divisional Police Officer, CSP John Adikwu and three other operatives were killed during the armed robbery on commercial banks in Otukpo town of the state.
Residents had said that the armed robbers on Friday afternoon caused a stir in the heart of Otukpo town when they attacked some banks in the area.
The police public relations officer in the state, SP Catherine Anene, in a statement, also confirmed that five banks were robbed simultaneously.
Anene added that in a hot pursuit of the suspected robbers, security operatives gunned down two of the armed robbers while still on the trail of others, who abandoned their vehicle and ran into the bush along the Otukpo-Taraku axis.
“On October 20, 2023, about 1615hrs, armed robbers invaded Access Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Stanbic IBTC simultaneously. The Otukpo Divisional Police Officer, CSP John Adikwu and other police teams in the area engaged them in a gun battle but were unable to prevent their attack on the banks.
“More police teams, in collaboration with other security agents, have been deployed to Otukpo to assist in stabilising the area and prevent these robbers from escaping.
“The robbers, who were intercepted along the Otukpo-Taraku road, engaged officers in a gun battle and two of the robbers died in the process. Other gang members abandoned their vehicles and escaped into the forest and are being chased by the police.
“The DPO, who sustained a gunshot injury on his stomach, and three other police officers, have been confirmed dead at the hospital. Other persons who sustained injuries in the bank have been moved to the hospital for treatment,” the police spokesman noted.
She said investigation into the matter had commenced but was, however, silent on the number of civilians killed during the robbery incident
Meanwhile, one of the military personnel who was part of the team that engaged the armed robbers but did not want to be named, revealed that security operatives couldn’t do much in engaging the daredevils while the operation went on because of the crowd of innocent people at the scene.