Armed robbers wielding sophisticated weapons raided banks and police station in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, killing several policemen on duty and setting inmates free, witnesses told Weekly Trust. Initial report late Thursday suggested that only five people were killed and scores of people injured but a visit to Offa by Weekly Trust yesterday revealed that "more than 10 policemen and 16 civilians were killed in the operation."
At Owode Police Divisional station, an eye witness said the armed robbers killed between 10 and 13 policemen just as they set free inmates whose number could not be immediately ascertained.
Four banks, all located at Oloffa way, were also raided in the incidence and their buildings were heavily damaged.
It was gathered that the robbers who came in bicycles and tricycles started shooting as soon as they alighted and used grenades to blow up the entrances to the banks before carting away unspecified amount of money.
A manager of one of the banks was reportedly killed while three people using the bank's Automated Teller Machine (ATM) were gunned down.
All together 16 civilians including a popular Offa indigene whose name was given as Alhaji Wasiu Jimoh aka Shuga, 54, were killed opposite the bank. A 14-year old was also hit by stray bullet and died instantly.
A source, who witnessed the bank's attack, said Alhaji Jimoh who was buried around 9: 00 a.m on Friday, was mowed down while trying to escape.
"I was inside my car on Thursday evening when the armed robbers came in motorcycles and Keke Napep (tricycles) and started shooting everybody on sight. While I laid down in the car to avoid being hit. Alhaji Jimoh who was in the car with me ran out and in that process he was shot", he said.
The state Police Public Relations officer, Mr. Femi Fabode confirmed the incident but silent on the number of casuality. He however said he would brief the public on the development today.
However, Weekly Trust counted 11 corpses at Offa General hospital. The corpses were yet to be claimed as at time of filing this report.
Some policemen and civilians with bullet wounds have been transferred to University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH).
Meanwhile, there was another robbery scare in Ilorin on Friday as most of the banks hurriedly closed as early as 1 p.m.