Basil Odoemelam, a middle-aged palm oil merchant in Umuahia, Abia state, who was robbed of over N1 million in broad day on Thursday, has died from gunshot injury.
Odoemelam died around 6pm on Friday at the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia, where he was taken after the attack.
His business ally said he died in the theatre, while doctors were carrying out surgery to remove bullets that reportedly lodged in his lower abdomen.
The gunmen were alleged to have shot him five times in the leg and lower abdomen before dispossessing him of the bag containing the money.
His younger brother, Ejima, who was seen weeping profusely at FMC, confirmed the death to NAN.
A three-member armed gang on Thursday allegedly trailed the deceased from an old generation bank after he had withdrawn about N2 million to pay for goods supplied to him.
The gunmen, who operated in a Toyota Camry, “double crossed” the tricycle (Keke) conveying him near the General Post Office, Aba Road, Umuahia at about 3pm.
The hoodlums escaped through Bende Road after the operation, while sympathisers, who thronged the scene, rushed him to FMC.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Abia, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, expressed concern over the incident and appealed to the public to assist the command with “credible information ” that would help in arresting the bandits.
Ogbonna described the hoodlums as the remnants of one Sampson Iheukwumere-led gang that had been terrorising Umuahia residents.
He said: “Going by their mode of operation, robbing people with arms in broad daylight, I believe they are remnants of the Iheukwumere gang.”
He said that Thursday’s operation and the way they escaped, “showed that the boys are still hibernating within the city.
“I therefore appeal to residents of Umuahia to assist the command with credible information that will help us to track them down,” Ogbonna said.
Iheukwumere, popularly called “Grave”, from Mgbaja Ossah in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia, was shot dead on December 3, during a gun battle with members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Umuahia.