Mor details have emerged on the daring daylight attack on a bank branch on a Saturday morning in the heart of the Federal Capital City, Abuja.
Mpape, the community hosting the bank that was targeted by the suspected robbers, was only a few minutes’ drive from an array of military barracks, lining up a long stretch of the Murtala Mohammed expressway, otherwise known Kubwa express.
The police headquarters also sits not more than 20 minutes away.
As residents were stepping out of their homes around 10am, shots rang in the air and they soon learnt that the branch of First bank in the area was being targeted by armed robbers.
Residents said as soon as the gang arrived the bank’s premises, they shot at a policeman on duty, who fired back at them. It was the said policeman that alerted his station about the exploit of the robbers, it was gathered.
But another witness gave a different account, saying the robbers disguised as customers and arrived at the bank about 10 am in a Toyota Sienna Sport Utility van.
The witness, who does not want to be mentioned, said there were two police officers at the bank and one was overpowered and tied up while his colleague escaped. “After he escaped, the robbers tried shooting at the officer before they entered the bank. The officer returned fire at the robbers. The gun duel lasted for some minutes,” the witness said.
According to him, police reinforcement arrived about 40 minutes after the first gunshot was heard. Before long, truckloads of police reinforcements, joined by truckloads of soldiers, were making their way to scene. At the same time, residents, in large numbers, streamed in the direction of the bank.
After the police and military arrived at the area, the robbers were held up inside the building for close to two hours.
When they eventually stormed it, one of the robbers got killed and three were arrested. Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that one of the men came out of the building through the roof before surrendering to security men. An unnamed staff of the bank, police said, led armed robbers into the branch of the bank at Abuja suburb.
The FCT police command said the attempted robbery was foiled, without anything taken away. The FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma, said the attempted robbery was staged by a five-man robbery squad that gained access to the banking hall after shooting sporadically into the air.