Chukwudi Akasike and Sampson Itode
Some residents of Rumuosi community have fled their homes after two policemen and one suspected armed robber were killed during a shootout on Ozuoba-Rumuosi Road in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Some robbery gang members were said to have opened fire on a police patrol van on the road around 10.30pm on Tuesday, forcing the policemen to respond.
It was gathered that in the ensuing shootout, two policemen died, while one of the robbers was also fatally wounded.
Some residents said while the hoodlums opened fire on sighting the patrol van, a policeman jumped out of the van and hid in a “strategic point.”
They added that it was the policeman that shot and killed one of the hoodlums.
Sources in the community told one of our correspondents that the policemen were on a stop-and-search duty in the area when the incident happened.
It was gathered that some youths were killed by some unidentified assailants three months ago, a development that led to an increase in the level of police patrol in Rumuosi community.
Most shops in the area were closed on Wednesday, as those living close to the scene of the gun battle had fled the area.
An eyewitness, who identified herself simply as Mary, said, “The gunmen ambushed the policemen, killing two of them. Another policeman fought back and killed one of the gunmen. The other robbers escaped
“The policemen were near the Rumuosi market, checking vehicle particulars as usual in the evening before the boys arrived and started shooting. We all ran for our dear lives; it was later that we heard that they killed two policemen.
Another resident in the area, Emeka, said the shooting started around 10.42pm, which forced everyone to scamper for safety.
He said, “Around 10.42pm, when we started hearing the sound of heavy gunshots, we all ran for our lives. If you look around, you will see that some people abandoned their shoes and slippers.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident, adding that the state police command was on the trail of those involved.
Omoni said, “Armed robbers attacked policemen that were on routine patrol in Rumuosi, in the Obio/Akpor LGA. They (armed robbers) ambushed them (policemen).
“But our men were able to return fire, which also killed one of the armed robbers. It happened in the evening. We are on their trail and we are combing the area and getting information to ensure that the suspects are arrested.”
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