Five suspected members of a notorious robbery gang said to have stormed the 04 Hotel in Ajah area of Lagos last Sunday have been confirmed dead. The robbers who have been terrorizing Lagos State, were shot dead early yesterday during a shoot-out with operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS, Ikeja, Lagos.
Several gunmen had stormed the hotel in a purported reprisal for the arrest of a colleague by SARS operatives at the same hotel. Seven persons including the owner of the hotel, Olarenwaju Subair, were killed in the attack.
Sources say the robbers who were moving in a convoy of an Honda Odyssey-which they snatched at Ajah area of Lagos at about 1am, and a Jeep on Sunday (yesterday) for another operation, had earlier attacked some policemen at Ajah and later at Ajao Estate before the shoot-out with SARS operatives.
A police source said, “The robbers began their operation around 1am at Ajah but just as they were moving out, they encountered a team of policemen on routine patrol. They opened fire on them and in the ensuing exchange of fire, one policeman was killed in the process and another wounded.
“Immediately, the robbers aborted their mission and drove drown to Ajao Estate. They got to Ajao Estate at about 2am and attacked a major dealer in phones, ipads and other ICT products.
“In the process, a police corporal, attached to the Mobile Police Force was killed. Valuables worth millions of naira were carted away.”
Having received a directive from the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, to apprehend the robbers following the killing of two policemen who were on patrol in Ebute Metta area, SARS operatives led by their leader, SP Abba Kyari, were said to have laid ambush along the Mushin/Ojuelegba areas while two more teams went towards the island to block the robbers’ escape route.
Not long after, the robbers who eventually drove through the Mushin/Ojuelegba road, were said to have opened fire on sighting the SARS teams.
In an intense gunfight that reportedly lasted 30 minutes, the robbers were chased from Stadium in Surulere to Eko Bridge.
The source said, “Some of the robbers had been wounded in the car from the gunfight but that didn’t stop them from driving. It wasn’t until the driver of one of their vehicles sustained a gunshot injury to the neck that the vehicles stopped at Eko Bridge.
“Some were already dead in the car. Several more fled their vehicles and jumped over the Eko Bridge into the ocean below. But some of those who jumped must have been wounded, because there was blood on the rails of the bridge.”
It was learnt that items from Ajao estate were recovered from the vehicles of the robbers. Policemen from the Area A command and the Marine Police later combed the waters, but did not find any corpse.
Confirming the incident, Lagos Police Commissioner, Umar Manko said, “Five robbers were killed in the exchange of gunfire with SARS operatives. They had earlier attacked a major phone dealer at Ajao Estate before they were ambushed by SARS operatives along the Mushin/Ojuelegba areas.”
The bodies of the dead suspects were sighted at the command’s headquarters, Ikeja, yesterday.