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Robbers snatch tanker with 33,000 litre fuel

Posted by By Vincent Ukpong Kalu on 2006/04/26 | Views: 531 |

Robbers snatch tanker with 33,000 litre fuel


Bandits who specialize in stealing truckloads of petroleum products especially in the Eastern parts of the country are now on the prowl, thereby making life unbearable for truck drivers and disrupting fuel distribution.

Bandits who specialize in stealing truckloads of petroleum products especially in the Eastern parts of the country are now on the prowl, thereby making life unbearable for truck drivers and disrupting fuel distribution.

A victim of one of the cases, Ibisi Ngwoke, a truck driver with KUUK said his team, comprising three persons, was accosted by five gun-wieding armed robbers along Osisi Oma area of Abia State sometime last month.

According to Ngwoke, trouble started last March 23 after loading at Eleme Refinery, River State; they got to Oyigbo with 33,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol. The road was blocked on the order of the Rivers State Government to ensure compliance with census of the day. "When the road was reopened, we left and got to Osisioma at 11pm and we felt it was unsafe to continue that night. So we parked and spent the night there.

The attack
When trio continued their journey at about 5.30am the next morning, they headed for Ohafia to beat the commencement of restriction of movement in the state. "About seven minutes journey when a yellow Mercedes Benz car with five occupants and a motorcycle and two occupants overtook my truck. They flagged down. I refused. I accelerated and swerved from lane to lane. They started shooting into the air from their vehicle."

" When it became obvious that I was not going to bulge, one of them forced me to stop by aiming his gun toward my wind screen. I stopped momentarily. I had wanted to crush them but for the fact that my conductor and the escort of the product had jumped down and ran into the bush. My motor boy was not all that lucky as they picked him where he was hiding.

"Before I finally pulled the trailer to a halt, they had encircled me and asked me to lie down. I told them that the driver has escaped with my motor boy. But they asked us to run into the bush from where we saw the two occupants of the motor bike entered and drove my trailer off while the rest continued in their shooting spree to scare away intruders and on-coming vehicles."

Safety in the bush
The bush, he said was dark. "We stayed in the bush until the next day. We combed the place with a motorcycle to see whether they abandoned the trailer without success. We had to incident the matter at Osisioma police station.

The police could not do anything, as according to them, they didnít have any vehicle to go for the search, and neither did I have money to hire vehicle for the search.

When I called my directors, there were equally handicapped because of the restriction of movement for the 2006 census until 4pm. By the time money was made available to charter a vehicle for the search, the police said they was nothing they could so as it was late until the next day, Saturday, when we chartered a vehicle combing all the towns up to Onitsha to no avail. It was on our way back that we saw the vehicle at Umuekea parked with the ignition key intact but the petrol has been offloaded. I drove the vehicle to the police station.

Saturday Sun findings reveal that theft of truckload of petroleum products by armed robbers is rampant in the East prompting the union to warn their members to be cautious when driving late.

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