The police in Cross River State on Wednesday killed an unidentified teacher alleged to be among a four-man robbery gang that raided shops along Goldie-Mount Zion Street in the Calabar-South area of the state capital.
Punch Metro learnt that operatives from the Uwanse Police Division had responded to a distress call that the robbers were attacking shop owners.
It was learnt that the policemen engaged the gang in a gun duel during which one of the gang members was killed.
Another suspect was reportedly arrested alive with gun wounds, while the driver of the vehicle they came in and the fourth gang member escaped.
Two locally-made pistols and other items, such as phones, laptops and money, were said to have been recovered from the suspects.
A witness, Mrs. Sarah Bepeh, identified the only suspect that was killed as a teacher in her daughter’s school.
She said, “I know the deceased suspect very well. He taught in different schools before coming to my daughter’s school in this neighbourhood. I am surprised that he was an armed robber. I asked after him a few days ago when I did not see him in the school and I was told that he had stopped working there because of salary issues.
“He is a graduate and I just don’t understand why he went into armed robbery. Just look at how he destroyed himself in the name of looking for fast money. This gang terrorised this area every day. But today (Wednesday), they met their Waterloo.”
Narrating how the suspects operated before the police intervened, another witness, Ephraim Chigozie, said he was among those robbed at gunpoint.
“I saw three guys walked into our premises. At first, I thought they were customers who were coming to buy drinks, because we sell beer in wholesale. But I became suspicious when I noticed that the three of them wore fez caps.
“Before I knew it, they held one of my boys. I did not know that their leader was holding a pistol. As I tried to walk towards my vehicle, he ordered me back into the store and asked me to lie flat on the floor. They dispossessed us of our money and other valuables before heading for a nearby microfinance bank.
“Unfortunately for them, the bank is usually crowded with market women who always go there for loans. They entered the bank and discovered that the crowd was much. They ordered everyone to lie down, but the women started screaming. They had to leave immediately. Some people alerted the police,” he said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo, said the gang was ambushed by men of the Uwanse Police Division who engaged them in a shootout.
“Our men killed one of them during a gun duel. One was injured, while two others are still at large. Investigation is ongoing. We recovered cash, two locally-made pistols, laptops and phones from them. We will surely get to the root of the matter,” she said.