Armed robbers on Wednesday stormed a new generation bank along Wetheral Road, Owerri, the Imo State capital and killed three policemen.
They injured several others before carting away an undisclosed amount of money.
One of the hoodlums was gunned down in the crossfire with security men attached to the bank before others escaped with their loot.
An eyewitness reported that the gunmen numbering over 12, who came in three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), trailed a bank customer who was going to lodge huge amount of money, apparently on a tip-off to the bank where they opened fire on his car and killed him instantly.
The source added, “One of the vehicles conveying the armed robbers drove into the bank with the victim while others parked outside.
After shooting the victim, they opened the trunk of his car to collect the money when security men engaged them in a shoot-out.
“The robbers outside the bank started shooting to scare away passers-by while those inside the bank shot their way out after killing three security men and a bank customer who attempted to run out of the bank premises,” he said.
An official of the bank, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that, “We were in the banking hall when we heard sporadic gunshots and locked down the building to prevent them from gaining entrance to the banking hall but one of our staff members who walked out was shot severally and is in critical condition now”.
When contacted, the state Police Command Public Relations Officer, Mr Andrew Enwerem, confirmed the incident but declared that it was not a bank robbery.
He said: “It is not a bank robbery but a bank customer was robbed in the front of the bank and the security men attached to the bank engaged the gunmen and shot down one of them while others fled.”
The police Spokesman, who was silent on the death of policemen attached to the bank, added that the police were on the trail of the fleeing armed robbers.