Akure — FIVE persons were killed, Monday, when a 30-man robbery gang attempted to rob three banks in Ikare-Akoko in Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Those killed included a pastor, who was on his way to a vigil, a security guard,two passers-by and two Okada riders.
The robbers, who came in a convoy of buses, were said to have arrived the banks (names withheld) on Jubilee Road about 10 p.m. and laid siege for four hours. Their attempt to gain access to the vaults was futile.
For the four hours they operated, the town was held hostage while there was pandemonium.
Dynamites and other sophisticated weapons were used to blow open the bank electronic doors, but the vaults in the banks were impenetrable.
Irked that they were not making any head-way towards accessing the vaults, the robbers, in anger, set ablaze one of them and threw more dynamite to destroy the other banks before they fled the town.
Reports had it that the robbers, on their arrival, went straight to attack the police station at Oke- Igbede, following which policemen on duty took to their heels as a result of the superior gunpower of the weapons of the hoodlums.
To have a field day, the robbers demobilised the Armoured Carrier Personnel, APC, in the station by deflating its tyres.
Olukare of Ikare, Oba Akadiri Momoh, who confirmed the incident, said he heard a loud bang around 10.30 p.m. in the palace and later heard sporadic gun shots around the centre of the town.
Oba Momoh said he later called the Divisional Police Officer and other relevant security agencies.
Also, the Chairman of the local government, Mr Oluwole Arowolo, said the incident would cripple the social and economic activities of the town for a long time as the banks affected were seriously damaged.
A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ganiyu Dauda, in his reaction said: "It is highly unfortunate. I have never seen this type of destruction in my life. The security we have in the country needs another direction to be able to combat this kind of crime."
Police Image-maker in the state, Mr. Adeniran Aremu, said those killed were hit by the bullets of the robbers who shot sporadically into the air and that they came out of their homes when they heard gun shots.
Aremu added that more policemen had been deployed to the town, stressing that no arrest had been made and that the robbers were unsuccessful in their mission to raid the banks.