The invasion of banks in Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West Local Government of Edo State, by rampaging armed robbers on Monday night has left no fewer than 10 persons dead.
The bank robbery which was said to have lasted for over three hours, was said to have claimed the lives of seven civilians and three soldiers, but unconfirmed reports put the casualty figure at 15, three soldiers and 12 civilians.
According to an eyewitness account, the robbers, numbering over 50, who came in three Camry cars and a Toyota Hummer bus, were said to have also used dynamites to destroy the Police Area Command and the Auchi Divisional Police headquarters.
Several vehicles, including police patrol vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) within the area command and Auchi division office were touched.
The robbers who started their operation at about 7.30p.m. attacked four banks in the area and also riddled some residential buildings with bullets.
A resident of the area who works at the Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, said people were still held-up in their houses, refusing to open their doors for fear of further invasion.
He said: "The whole town of Auchi and its environs still look like a ghost town."
In his reaction, the police area commander, Auchi, Mr. David Jimwan, said though police buildings were destroyed, the robbers did not succeed in breaking into the police armoury.
Jimwan who spoke with journalists noted that his men succeeded in repelling the fire power of the robbers during the attack.
However, Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, Majority Leader of Edo State House of Assembly, Philip Shaibu including the Acting Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Hurdi, representative of the Brigade Commander, 4 Mechanised Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Director State Security Services (SSS), Tukur Bakori, Tuesday afternoon visited the affected areas.
At the palace of the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Haliru Momoh Ikelebe III, Odubu called on the Inspector General of Police to reinforce the police personnel and equipment in the area, saying "We have seen things for ourselves, we have seen the damage done to the police divisional police headquarter and the Area Commander's office and four banks. It is clear that these people came with the intention to wreak maximum havoc; they were daredevil armed robbers who were very blood thirsty and sadistic in approach."