Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command yesterday shot dead a yet-to-be identified man in Ilupeju area of the state.
The incident led to pandemonium as youths and sympathisers went wild in protest, describing the incident as one killing too many by SARS.
They alleged that many people would have died if not for the divine intervention.
A resident, Emeka Okorie, said: “This killing by SARS is becoming too many. Every time the police authority will be telling us of reformation of SARS, but the operatives keep on killing us like common criminals. Today’s killing was unwarranted. Why would they shoot sporadically at 7am when people were going to work? Which armed robber were they chasing by that time? The police should fish out the culprits and bring them to justice.”
But in a swift reaction, the state police command claimed that the man was killed by stray bullet during an encounter between SARS operatives and some notorious armed robbers/cultists.
The state police public relations officer, Bala Elkana, said: “On July 15, at about 7.30am, SARS operatives led by Inspector Mohammed Akeem, while being led by a notorious gang leader Ikechukwu Monye, 39, to where their arms are kept, were ambushed by members of the gang along Ajisegiri Street, Ilupeju. The assailants shot sporadically and at the process, killed a middle age man who was passing by.
“Reinforcement was quickly drafted to the scene. The whole area is cordoned with a view to apprehending the members of the gang and bring them to justice. Ilupeju has experienced violent attacks between members of Aiye and Eiye confraternities, who equally engaged in heinous crimes such as armed robbery, rape and murder.
“The gang in question is responsible for series of robberies within Ilupeju and environ. They have been on the wanted list of the police for murder of six persons during three robbery operations that they carried out.
“The command condemn in total, senseless killings of innocent persons by those criminal elements and will not also tolerate attacks on its personnel by criminal elements and vowed to bring an end to the activities of this deadly gang. Members of the public are enjoined to remain calm, as the command has intensified patrols and surveillance in the affected areas.
“Meanwhile, the body of the victim of this violent attack has been removed and deposited at the mortuary for post mortem examination. The command extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased person and assured them that justice will prevail.”