Tension heightened in parts of Benin, Edo State yesterday as operatives of Anti- Bomb Squad of the state police command in collaboration with soldiers detonated three bombs found in an abandoned building in the ancient city.
This came barely three weeks after youths and vigilante group at Okpella community in Etsako East Local Government Area in the North Senatorial District uncovered a bomb factory following an explosion which killed one person.
It was learnt that the bombs were left in a residential building at Number 3, Alkali Street, off Ekenwan Road. There were fears that the bombs were to be used to blow up Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) by an armed robbery gang.
The joint team of police and soldiers asked the residents to stay at safe a distance before the bombs were detonated. Witnesses said during the evacuation exercise, one of the bombs detonated and shook many buildings.
One of the residents, Mrs. Rametu Ineruwa, explained that they were surprised when security personnel asked them to leave their houses to safe areas.
According to Ineruwa, people were sent out of their houses to distance locations. She said: “We were surprised when policemen and soldiers came to this area and found some bombs in that building.
They asked everybody to go out.” Also, Kate Obazee, said the explosion from one of the devices had caused panic among the residents even after the police had defused it.
The people therefore called for improved security within the area. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, yesterday confirmed the incident, but said adequate care had been taken by security experts who recovered and detonated the bombs.
He said investigations revealed that the bombs were to be used by a robbery gang to blow up an ATM machine as well as rob commercial banks in the state.