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Police, armed robbers in gun battle

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-1 killed, 4 wounded
The Liberia National Police has exchange fire with 10 suspected armed robbers, killing one instantly and wounding four others in a robbery attack on Ecobank Liberia Limited branch in Kakata, Margibi County.

Police robbers

Police have released photos of both the wounded armed robbery suspects and the one that was also killed during the attack. A statement issued by the police on Sunday afternoon says officers of the Liberia National Police or LNP have secured the Ecobank’s premises in the county, after it was attacked by gang of men armed with single barrel guns and other deadly weapons early Sunday, 24 July.

At least five of the suspects are said to be at large, but the four suspects that sustained wounds are being held by the police. The NewDawn was reliably hinted that three private officers assigned at the bank were held at gunpoint by the robbers before executing the robbery mission. However, the police were called in after one of the private officers who had left his colleagues on post to patrol later stumbled over the incident and fled to the nearest police station unnoticed for help.

Police reportedly bypassed the armed robbers at the incident scene before engaging them in a gun battle that saw one suspected robber dead. According to police statement, ten armed robbers opened fired on armed police officers after they were engaged, resulting to the death of the ring leader only identified as Akin.

Police said Akin had been on their wanted list for several months as a result of his alleged involvement in several armed robbery incidents, especially on banking institutions in Monrovia and its environs. The late Akin and his men allegedly entered Ecobank in Kakata by cutting the bars of one of the windows near the generator house, using oxygen tank and saw blade.

The suspects went into a shootout against police after they had entered the bank, resulting to four sustaining injuries. The wounded are said to be undergoing medical treatment at the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Margibi County.

Those wounded include 29-year-old Samuel Davis, who was allegedly part of last November’s robbery attack on Equatorial PALM and had been charged for armed robbery by police and jailed at the Grand Bassa Prison Center. But Police say the suspect informed investigators that he was released by the court.

Others wounded in the shootout alongside Davis are 33-year-old Alex Yakpawolo, who claimed he was recruited by Akin as the driver for the operation; Junior Johnson 35, and Abraham Doe, 34 years, respectively.
Police further detail that the robbers allegedly damaged the bank’s CCTV Camera and its ATM server during the attack to hinder police investigation.

However, the police have announced a high alert against the remaining five suspected armed robbers who are said to have been waiting in a parked vehicle. Residents in Margibi have also been advised not to provide hideout for the remaining robbers who are in hot pursuit, as police stress that anyone providing accommodations for them will be arrested and charged with armed robbery.

The LNP re-emphasizes that despite the drawdown of UN Peacekeepers, coupled with logistical constraints and low budgetary support; it will continue to provide professional service to the people of Liberia and those doing business within the country. The police assured the business community of full protection, while calling on the public to share information with the police on any suspicious activity.

Several residents of Kakata City who visited the scene of the incident were said to have lauded the police for its prompt intervention that saved the bank from being robbed.

By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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