Suspected armed robbers turned the New Year eve bloody in Ondo State as they went berserk along Uso-Owo Expressway in Owo Local Government Area of the state, killing six persons and leaving many others injured.
According to an eyewitness, the culprits were dressed in police uniforms to lure unsuspecting road users to slow down, after which they attacked their victims and shot sporadically into the air to scare away people who might come for their rescue.
The source disclosed that two persons, who were on motorcycle, were killed on the spot by stray bullets while others were fatally injured with various degrees of injuries.
It was gathered that four of those who sustained gunshot injuries were confirmed dead at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo, while one Fatai Awosusi who was on his way to Ipeme to celebrate the New Year festival died at the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED) Teaching Hospital in Ondo.
Sympathizers described the attack as reprisal against the recent raid on kidnappers’ den by security operatives last week and the parade of a notorious kidnap kingpin, Mohammed Jahiel, alongside other squad members on Monday by the police.
For the record, the Akure/Ado-Ekiti/Owo/Ikare/Benin routes have become kidnappers’ dens in recent times but the joint task force of security operatives combed the deadly spots to disperse the culprits.
A survivor of the incident and lecturer in the Department of Languages, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO), simply addressed as Dr. Ayodele, recounted that she and some travellers were saved only by the whiskers.
Narrating her ordeal on the WhatsApp platform of RUGIPO’s Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Ayodele said: “We just escaped armed robbery some 30 minutes ago. This happened between Ogbese and Uso; two minutes drive to Uso from Ogbese. We were practically face to face with death. Some people were killed. We had a very narrow escape. Praise God on our behalf.”
Dr. Raman Abubakri of the Department of Mass Communication, who once escaped the forage of the kidnappers, urged government to find a lasting solution to the incessant kidnappings on the highway.
“The soldiers’ fire brigade approach is not the solution. Provision should be made for soldiers to be constantly on the notorious spots on the road. Besides, the thick bushes at the right and left sides should be cleared for about 100 meters from the main road. These measures will checkmate the boldness of the criminals who are now desperate to make money at all cost.”
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