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Armed robbery, cult-related killings, lootings herald 24 hours curfew in Edo

Disturbing reports of cases of armed robberies, cult-related killings, sporadic gunshots and lootings have continued to trail the 24-hour curfew imposed by Edo State government few days ago.

The Edo State government had in an effort to quell the civil disturbances that greeted the hijacked #EndSARS protest imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state on Monday, October 19, 2020.

Over five police stations and patrol vehicles were set ablaze and arms as well as ammunition carted away during the the violence across the state.

It was gathered that armed men invaded parts of Upper Sokponba road, Ogida and Okhoro areas in Benin City robbing residents of cash and personal belongings.

Armed youths suspected to be cultists were said to have stormed a private residence at Obasogie Street, Off Oronsanye Street in Okhoro area vandalized the building and Audi 80 car packed in the premises.

It was learnt that the armed youths shot sporadically as they searched for the landlord’s son who had escaped before their arrival.

The rampaging gunmen also vandalized parts of a popular hotel/club along Okhoro road as relics of damaged property littered the premises when our reporter visited, last Tuesday.

Two casualties were reportedly recorded in Ogida area when some hoodlums allegedly trailed a tricycle rider to a bus stop near Ogida police station, and shot him dead.

The other victim was said to be a police inspector who shot and wounded a protester last Monday as he was identified and shot by some hoodlums last Wednesday in the area.

Investigation also revealed that several privately owned warehouses in Benin City have been vandalized and looted since the curfew was imposed.

Dependable sources hinted that some prison escapees in last Monday’s jailbreaks in the state capital are among the hoodlums terrorising the residents.

Our reporter’s checks revealed that some suburbs of Benin City have organised emergency vigilante groups to protect themselves and their property.

It was also observed that police presence and services have been tactically withdrawn in some areas since the #EndSARS protest commenced.

Though the #EndSARS protesters have vacated the City centre popularly known as ring road, possibly in compliance with the curfew, they however remained peacefully at the Ugbowo main gate at press time yesterday.

A drive round Benin metropolis revealed relative compliance with the curfew.

However, movement of vehicles was obstructed by armed soldiers who mounted barricades on some major roads in Benin City, yesterday.

Meanwhile, the presence of conventional police personnel in the enforcement of the 24-hour state government imposed curfew, remained unnoticeable in Benin City at press time yesterday.

Residents of the state are yet to see the anti-riot mobile police reportedly deployed by the Inspector General of Police IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.

The Public Relations Officer for Edo Police Command SP Chidi Nwabuzor could not be reached for comment.