NO fewer than seven persons, three police men and four suspected armed robbers, were feared dead during a gun battle on Friday night at Okija, Anambra State along the Onitsha - Owerri expressway.
It was gathered that the robbers, who dressed in camouflagged army uniforms and were driving in a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), had double-crossed the police patrol team, made up of members of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP)'s Special Task Force on Heinous Crimes for Zone C, and opened fire. In the ensuing gun battle, seven persons died, three on the side of the police and four on the side of the robbers.One police man was also injured.
According to an eye witness, when the heat of the superior fire power of the IGP's squad became unbearable for the surviving members of the gang, they abandoned their car and fled with gunshot wounds.
Anambra State Police Command could not be reached at press time, but the Commander of the IGP's Task Force on Heinous Crimes, Zone C, Mr. Ogwuni Edwin, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), told Sunday Vanguard on telephone that the hoodlums could be the criminals they arrested and charged to court few months ago, but were later granted bail by the court.
He said that his men fought galantly to kill some of the bandits and even recovered their car riddled with bullets. The SUV, he suspected, might have been snatched from somebody for the operation, adding that if his men had had a plain operational vehicle which did not have police colours or number plate the criminals would not have easily identified them.
The IGP Special Task Force on Heinous Crimes in charge of Zone C is based at Onitsha and covering Anambra, Imo, Delta, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi states.