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Police lose 9 officers in Offa robbery as death toll hits 30

Written by Maritime First

…Troops kill five Boko Haram fighters in Adamawa***

…14 killed in Canada’s hockey team bus crash***

About 30 robbers had hit the town, raiding five commercial banks along the Owode Market Area of the town in Offa Local Government Area of the state.

The Kwara State Police Command confirmed yesterday that nine of its personnel were killed by the robbers.

Seven other people lost their lives in the attacks, spokesman for the command, Mr.Ajayi Okansanmi, told reporters in an update on the mayhem.

Unofficial accounts yesterday said the death toll might have risen to 23, including two policemen allegedly shot by the robbers in Okuku, Osun State while returning from the operation.

Three vehicles were reportedly abandoned by them.

Angry residents called for an immediate review of the security architecture for banks in Kwara State.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, reacting to the incident on his Facebook wall, called it a despicable act committed by cruel individuals.

He said he had spoken with Governor Fatah Ahmed on the development and both of them agreed that no stone would be left unturned until the bandits were found and prosecuted.

One of the casualties was said to be pregnant. Sources gave her name as Omilola Korede.

She reportedly went to one of the banks to lodge a complaint about a transaction.

She had gone to the bank with her young son but both of them were sprayed with bullets.

Three other women identified as Bunmi Mesan, Iya Muji and Mama Big Club, were also killed.

A survivor, who said he hid inside one of the banks during the attack, was still in shock when he shared his ordeal with our reporter yesterday.

He said: “My brother, it is not something to recall or witness. I don’t even pray it for my enemies.

“I saw death staring at me and others. I still can’t talk much about it.”

He pleaded not to be named.

The paramount ruler of the town, the Olofa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, was lost for words when he was contacted yesterday.

He said the destruction that came with the robbery was enormous.

A colloquium on the community scheduled for today (Saturday) was shifted to April 14, following the incident.

Offa community leaders spent much of yesterday discussing the robbery incident and resolved to hold a larger meeting of Offa sons and daughters on Sunday, April 29.

Senate President Saraki said: “Make no mistake, there will never be any valid grounds or rationale behind such violence that has left many families without their loved ones – and one more community in grief and shock.

“Last night, I spoke to Governor Ahmed to express my condolence on the lives that were lost in the attack, and we both agree that no stone will be left unturned until the perpetrators of this heinous act are caught and brought to justice.

“It is also important that we all work together to ensure that this does not reoccur. We all must co-operate at various levels to increase the security of our communities.

“I pray that the souls of those that we lost yesterday are granted places amongst the righteous ones.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army said on Saturday its troops have killed five Boko Haram insurgents in a gun duel at Barkin-Dutse Area of Adamawa State.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, said in a statement that troops engaged and killed the insurgents following a distressed call by hunters on Friday.

He said: “Troops of operation LAFIYA DOLE on April 6 neutralised suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Barkin Dutse area of Adamawa State following a distress call from hunters.

“The terrorists on sighting the troops opened fire which resulted in exchange of fire.

“Five Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised while some of them escaped into nearby caves during the encounter.

“Also, one hunter lost his life during the operation.”

Chukwu said the troops recovered five AK 47 rifles, five magazines and 22 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition.

He added that troops were in pursuit of the fleeing terrorists and urged the people to report any suspicious movements in their area to security agencies.

Meanwhile, troops had arrested two suspected insurgents in Bauchi and Borno in separate operations.

Chukwu, who made the disclosure in Maiduguri, said troops of 33 Artillery Brigade on April 5 arrested one Saidu Jenga, 33, on Maiduguri Bye pass Road, Bauchi, in connection with Boko Haram activities.

He said the suspect was allegedly overheard discussing movement of arms and ammunition on phone.

“Items recovered include one techno phone with two sim cards as well as N6, 870 cash,” he said.

Chukwu added that troops of operation LAFIYA DOLE also arrested one Umar Ali, 59, a suspected Boko Haram insurgent at Galdimare ward in Biu local government area of Borno State.

In the meantime, at least 14 people were killed when a lorry and a bus carrying a junior ice hockey team collided in Canada on Friday evening.

Members of the Humboldt Broncos were travelling on Highway 35, north of Tisdale in the province of Saskatchewan, the BBC reports.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said 28 people were on the bus, 14 of whom were killed, including the driver.

The other 14 aboard the bus have been taken to hospital. Three are in critical condition.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote: “I cannot imagine what these parents are going through.”

The lorry and the bus collided at around 17:00 local time (23:00 GMT).

The hockey team, who plays in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, was en route to a play-off game against the Nipawin Hawks.

The team list shows the players are aged between 16 and 21.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police inspector, Ted Munro, said rescue efforts were ongoing and that the police had set up an information and support centre for families at the Nipawin Apostolic Church.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families tonight,” he said.

Myles Shumlanski, father to one of the Broncos players, arrived at the scene after a call from his son.

“It was a disaster,” he told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix paper. “We had a crane lifting the bus.”

Team president, Kevin Garinger, released a statement extending “our thoughts and prayers” to the families of staff and athletes.

Citizen with additional report from Nation

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Maritime First