On 22 July, an armed gang numbering between 10 and 15 men, killed two policemen who were escorting a bullion van conveying a large sum of money, and hijacked the van in Nsukka, Enugu State. However, the police intercepted and apprehended them, about four hours later, as they attempted to escape into Ebonyi State.
Narating the incident, local sources said the robbers had apparently trailed the cash-laden van and the police escort vehicle from the Opi-Nsukka road up to the Fen Park junction. They then suddenly blocked both vehicles with their Mercedes Benz car and a Toyota Sienna Space Wagon, and opened intense fire at the policemen around 10.20am.
The reports said after they had killed the policemen, the robbers ordered the bullion van driver to move ahead of their van towards Queen’s College, Nsukka, while they fired indiscriminately in different directions. The reports said when they got close to the College, the robbers stopped and brought out a gas cylinder. One account said they also brought out a welding machine with which they then ripped open the roof of the bullion van.
Another said they used the gas in igniting a fire, which then activated an explosive with the blast of dynamite. This account said after blowing the bullion van open, they then carted the bags of money it was conveying over to their own van and sped off.
The reports said one of the slain policemen was an Inspector who hailed from Enugu-Ezike in Enugu State, while the other was a Constable. Another policeman and three other persons were injured by stray bullets.
News of the incident brought commercial activities in Nsukka to a standstill for about one hour, and most banks and major shops in the town remained shut for most of the day. One report said police stations in the town were also on high alert against possible attacks, with barricades on their access roads.
However, the police later caught up with the fleeing robbers. The Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Enugu State Police Command, Mr Ebere Amarizu, told newsmen that once alerted of the incident, the Command immediately dispatched several patrol teams to the Nsukka area, in pursuit of the fleeing robbers. He said the pursuit yielded result at about 3.50 pm, when the patrol teams, aided by soldiers, intercepted the hoodlums along Ehamufu-Nkalagu road, as they attempted to escape into Ebonyi State. By this time, they had snatched and changed the vehicles in which they were fleeing at least three times, in the effort to shake the police off their trail.
The police spokesman said: “A general purpose machine gun (GPMG) and the stolen money were recovered, but the actual amount has not been ascertained for now”.
On 18 February, men of the Anti-Bomb Squad of the Enugu State Police Command detected and removed a bomb planted by unknown persons at the venue where Governor Sullivan Chime was to flag off his electoral campaign in Enugu, just a few hours before the commencement of the event.
The State Police Commissioner, Mr. Job Danazumi Doma, told reporters after the event held at Okpara Square, Enugu, that the“locally-made bomb” which was planted under the VIP pavilion where the governor and other dignitaries normally sit, was intended to cause havoc during the rally.
He explained that once the bomb was detected by men of the Anti-Bomb Squad, it was immediately neutralized and evacuated to the Police Headquarters, while the entire venue was properly swept with detectors before the event started. The rally went ahead and was completed without any security breach.