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Policeman Hit by Friendly Fire after Bank Robbers Escape 

By Solomon Amabo

A police officer working with the anti-gang unit in Douala was Tuesday mistakenly shot by his colleague during a muscled intervention after a dramatic bank robbery near Chateau in Deido.

The wounded police officer, who was in mufti, was part of a crack law enforcement team that was deployed to prevent armed robbers from escaping with money they had hauled from a Western Union office. He was rushed to the Laquintinie Hospital where he is receiving treatment.

Eyewitness accounts speak of a robbery that looked like a scene in a Hollywood movie. It was at about 1:00 pm when some five men, looking like ordinary clients, walked into the Western Union branch, according to the witnesses. A few minutes later, the five men surrendered the guard and all the workers and customers before holding the bank teller at gunpoint.

A sixth man, witnesses narrated further, kept watch in front of the building while his five colleagues robbed the bank. After the successful operation in broad daylight, the men left the bank without meeting any resistance. The exact sum they carted away has not yet been disclosed, but it is estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 1 million FCFA:

The Western Union guard on duty, who was unhurt, later told reporters that the robbers used locally manufactured guns during the operation and made away with a bag of money. “They came and left on foot,” he added.

Armed police who later arrived at the building were initially unaware that the robbers had already left. Witnesses said they fired teargas into the building, triggering chaos at the scene. In the confusion, a police cop opened fire, hitting his colleague in mufti. We were unable to get exact details about the seriousness of the injuries of the shot policeman.

Deido, the district where the robbery took place, was under heavy security presence at the time of the crime. Many area residents wondered aloud how the robbers managed to operate successfully with armed security forces hard by.

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