By Kunle Adedoyin
An attack on the Wema Bank branch at Iju, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State by a gang of armed robbers on Tuesday has left a female official of the bank dead, two other people injured and a large sum of money stolen.
The bandits stormed the bank, which is located along the Akure-Ado Ekiti Expressway, around 2.30pm, and shot indiscriminately, which caused pandemonium in the town.
The robbers came to town through the Ado Ekiti end of the road and went straight to the bank premises amidst a volley of bullets.
Eyewitnesses said the robbery operation lasted over 30 minutes just as the robbers were engaged in a gun duel with security agents as they made their escape from the robbery scene.
The bank branch is said to be less than one kilometre from the Iju Divisional Police Station.
“When the robbers entered the town, we heard gunshots around the bank area. The residents of the area had to run for safety,” an eyewitness said.
“On entering the premises of the bank, the robbers blew up the bulletproof door with dynamites in order to gain entry into the banking hall, from where they stole money.”
The victims of the attack were believed to have been injured by stray bullets from the shoot-out between the robbers and the Policemen, who rushed to the scene of the robbery.
The three victims included one female bank worker, one customer and another person in the banking hall. The bank employee died instantly, while the others were injured.
Eyewitnesses said the robbers went away with three big bags full of money and drove in the direction of Ado Ekiti.
Femi Joseph, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, confirmed the incident and said the men of the command were already on the trail of the robbers.
“We can confirm that one person died in the operation. Our men engaged the robbers in a shootout and they had to abandon the vehicle they brought to the area and ran into the bush,” he said.
“Our men are already combing the bush and I am sure that the robbers will be arrested. We have commenced investigation into the incident.”
It was gathered that the remains of the deceased had been deposited in the morgue of the General Hospital, Iju, while the injured were receiving treatment at the hospital.