The incident, a correspondent gathered occurred around 2am in Ezi -Ogbaku in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area of the state.
A police source confided in Punch correspondent that the SARS commander, Victor Godfrey, mobilised his men to the scene of the crime.
Addressing journalists shortly after the bodies of the slain robbers were taken to the state police headquarters in Owerri, the state capital, the Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, a Superintendent of Police, said three out of the five-man gang fled with gunshot injuries.
He said that the armed robbers who were going from house to house robbing residents in the dead of the night had opened fire on sighting policemen who responded to a distress call.
The police spokesperson disclosed that in the gun battle, two of the hoodlums were gunned down while the other three escaped.
Enwerem said, “In the early hours of Wednesday, the operatives of federal Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Imo state police command received a distress call that armed robbers were operating at Ezi-Ogbaku in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area of the state.
“The team encountered the armed robbers numbering five who opened fire on the policemen. The officers responded which led to the death of two of the hoodlums while three fled with gunshot injuries.”
Enwerem, who explained that the identities of the slain robbers had yet to be ascertained, said that the state commissioner of police, Chris Ezike, had directed heads of tactical Unit of the command to apprehend the fleeing criminals.
One locally made double barrelled gun , two expended cartridges and two live cartridges were recovered from the robbers.