On Thursday, July 14, in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, police shot and injured three individuals, including a health worker and a fruit vendor, after they engaged two suspected armed robbers in a gunfight.
According to information, the armed robbery gang had been waiting for victims carrying big amounts of cash in the banks on Bank Road in Umuahia.
The thugs had followed a bank client who had withdrawn money from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) branch on Bank Road.
The cops ambushed the armed thieves early on Thursday morning based on intelligence.
The armed thieves allegedly opened fire when they saw the cops, sparking a gunfight. Three or four people were shot and hurt in the ensuing gun war.
A female healthcare worker named Apollos Theresa was among those hurt when a stray bullet struck her in the head.
Chimuanya Joy, a fruit vendor, was shot in the stomach. The third person, a police officer, was hurt during the gunfight and was taken to the hospital to receive medical care.
Tochukwu, a resident, told Nation that the robbers were being pursued by a police patrol van from the city’s Aba road axis but took a detour to Ibiam road after they encountered traffic congestion.
It was further gathered the robbers, who rode in a Corolla SUV on getting to Factory road, rammed into a woman driving a Toyota Camry coming in the opposite direction.
The robbers fired severally into the air and later escaped with the Toyota Camry through Factory road into Afaraukwu community.
The incident, which happened at the location where many commercial banks in Umuahia are situated, forced them and offices around the area to abruptly close for business.
Spokesperson of the Abia State Police Command, Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the incident said it was not a case of bank robbery.
“It wasn’t a case of a bank robbery attack. What happened is that some of these armed robbers who trail people coming from the banks – people who go to banks to make withdrawals. They will trail them because it happened recently. They will trail their target to where it will be conducive for them to strike and they will strike,” he stated.
“So that was what happened today. Our people who were on patrol in that area were able to intercept the gang and on sighting the police, they engaged them in a shootout and they were able to escape, abandoning their operational vehicle. The police recovered one AK-47 rifle from them as well as a vehicle and one machete. A stray bullet hit somebody who sells something nearby and even one of our colleagues (police) had a slight touch of their bullet,” he added.