Tags: libya | robbers | bank | heist

Libyan Robbers Steal $54 Million in Bank Van Heist

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 11:15 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Libyan gunmen have ambushed a central bank van and made off with close to $54 million, al-Jazeera reported Tuesday.

The network cited a report from the official Libyan news agency LANA, which said 10 heavily armed robbers stole the money — Libyan currency worth $42 million and another $12 million in American dollars and euros.

The attack took place as the van was traveling between the Sirte airport and the town itself - located approximately 300 miles east of Tripoli.

The LANA report did not say whether there were any deaths or injuries.

A Sirte security official told LANA that authorities had identified the vehicles used in the robbery and that a manhunt was underway to capture those responsible for the heist.
 
Sirte is the hometown of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was captured and killed there by rebels in October 2011 after 42 years in power.

Al-Jazeera reported that in the early days of the 2011 revolution that toppled him, Gadhafi freed tens of thousands of convicted criminals from prison — many of whom benefited from a flood of guns and other weaponry looted from his armories to go on crime sprees.

Only one security vehicle was assigned to protect the van carrying the currency, according to the BBC.

Officials have not disclosed how many guards were in the van, but the failure to stop the robbery will likely raise more questions about the government’s ability to keep control of a country dominated by militias, gangs and Islamic jihadists.

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