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Robbers shoot 4 dead in Nigerian bank raid

Posted by Reuters on 2008/11/22 | Views: 2428 |

Robbers shoot 4 dead in Nigerian bank raid


Gunmen shot dead at least four people in a bank raid in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos on Friday before escaping by speedboat when police arrived in an armoured personnel carrier, a witness said.

Gunmen shot dead at least four people in a bank raid in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos on Friday before escaping by speedboat when police arrived in an armoured personnel carrier, a witness said.

As many as 20 armed robbers arrived by boat across the lagoon in the upmarket Lekki Phase 1 neighbourhood before blasting through the bank's bullet proof door and killing four employees including the manager and a cleaner.

"A number of other staff were wounded," said the eyewitness, who asked not to be identified.

Police confirmed that the robbers had escaped from the United Bank for Africa (UBA) branch by speedboat but could not confirm any casualty figures.

"It was obvious that the robbers were targeting a large sum of money being delivered to the bank by bullion van. But they were unlucky because they got there before the van was unloaded," police spokesman Frank Mba said.

Robberies are common in Lagos, a city of 14 million people that includes some of Africa's most expensive real estate and some of its most deprived slums.

Nigeria is essentially a cash economy and there is often a crime wave in the build-up to Christmas, when traders and customers carry large sums of money.

But the attacks are usually opportunistic, carried out by gunmen who pose as policemen at fake roadblocks or by criminals who steal at gunpoint from drivers trapped in traffic jams.

Lagos is eager to improve its crime-ridden image, a major disincentive to investors in Africa's most populous nation.

Police have set up rapid response units and earlier this year paraded armoured personnel carriers in a slow convoy around parts of the city in an effort to dissuade criminals. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa. reuters.com/ ) (Reporting by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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