There was panic in parts of Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, in the early hours of Thursday as a policeman, in a Hilux van, who chased after armed robbers in a car, was shot dead.
The yet-to-be-identified policeman was, shot dead when the robbers blocked the road at a point and started firing at him.
A source said the gang of robbers had earlier robbed a petrol station along Fajuyi -Secretariat Road and were escaping through the new Iyin Road when the police officer sighted them and tried to apprehend them on his own.
According to the source, the police van had trailed the bandits up to NTA junction, where the bandits stopped and blocked the road in readiness for a gun duel.
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“When the Hilux van chased them up to that point, the armed robbers used their vehicle to block the way and rained bullets on the car.
“The bullets hit the driver of the vehicle and he died on the spot after which the robbers sped off in their car,” he said.
According to another source, “the sound of gunshots fired by the robbers caused confusion in the vicinity as some motorists made U-turns to escape the scene.
“It was the same situation near Ekiti State House of Assembly and the State Secretariat as workers scampered to safety to prevent getting caught in the gunfire,” he said.
Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, who confirmed the incident, said, “The attack on the police officer could have been a reaction of criminal elements to the cleansing operation being carried out by the command.
“You know that since our new Police Commissioner, Mr. Asuquo Amba, came on board, he introduced a Joint Task Force carrying out Operation Make Ekiti Safe, many criminals have either been arrested or killed in the process.
“The Joint Task Force has been diligent in its duties and this attack may be one of those ways to frustrate us by criminals. We are assuring our people that we remain focused. We won’t be discouraged by this incident and we shall trail the perpetrators of this crime and make sure they face the full weight of the law,” Ikechuwu said.
However, police officers from the State Police Command have visited the scene and evacuated the corpse, which was later deposited in the morgue of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti.