Residents of Gbarnga, Bong County are being engrossed by fear in recent days as armed robbery activities are reportedly on the increase.
Police assigned there told the Daily Observer that a man identified as Sekou Swaray, 30, was shot and killed with a single barrel short gun around 6:52 p.m. on Monday, October 14 by unidentified armed robbers on the Gbarnga/Ganta-Highway near Nee-a-laa Guest House. Three other persons, who were reportedly wounded in the attack, are undergoing treatment at a local hospital. Swaray has meanwhile been buried in keeping with his Islamic religious belief.
Police say no arrest has been made in connection to the armed robbery, but the office of the Crime Services Division of the Bong County Police Detachment confirmed the shooting incident and said the officers have launched a cordon search operation for the alleged armed robbers.
The officers told the Daily Observer that the alleged armed robbers made off with a black bag containing L$11,000 from their victim.
In less than two weeks, armed robbers have reportedly terrorized residents of Dementa Road Community in Gbarnga, wounding three persons, who were allegedly shot with a single barrel gun and also attacked with machetes (cutlasses).
“Armed robbery is the latest menace in Gbarnga and we the residents are uncertain about the direction in which our lives are going, as ordinary people. In recent days, there has been an increase in armed break-ins at private homes,” an eyewitness of Monday’s incident said.
One other account said that the late Sekou Swaray, who was selling at the A. A. K. Gas Station, was eating with his older brother (name not disclosed), when two men riding a black exhaust TVS Motorbike, both dressed in black jumpsuits wearing masks, disembarked and put Sekou and his brother at gunpoint.
“Before making away with the black bag containing the money, the robbers reportedly shot Mr. Swaray in his head, while his brother escaped the scene, and that is how the robbers escaped,” one eyewitness said.
“The armed robbery activities were well-coordinated, this is why the robbers escaped the crime scene without any of them being caught,” one of the police officers said.
“The armed robbers came and ordered everybody on the floor; threatening to kill any of their victims if they should attempt to fight back,” the officer said.
Some of the residents have attributed the rise in criminal activities to the high rate of unemployment both in the urban and rural areas. They also said during the 14-year civil war (1989-2003), lots of guns illegally entered the country, and the residents believe that authorities have still not recovered all the guns from their hideouts.
As a result of the frequent waves of armed robberies in Gbarnga and its immediate environs, police have admonished residents to avoid walking in the streets at night, since Gbarnga has no electricity and is prone to criminal activity.