By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 6 November 2013:
A Libyan army contingent was reportedly deployed yesterday to Sirte following the LD 69-million bank robbery in the town on 28 October.
It has been sent to help capture the thieves, reportedly militiamen, who managed to intercept a truck carrying LD 53 million in dinars and the rest in dollars and euros that was being transferred from the airport to the town’s branch of the Central Bank of Libya.
Indicating that the identities of those involved were known, Benghazi Congressman Mohamed Busidra, who heads the committee established by Congress to follow up the case, is reported as saying the army had given the group seven days to return the money. There would be no negotiations with them, he added. If they did not surrender and hand back the money by the end of the deadline, force would be used.
Media reports that monies had already been recovered were this morning denied by an official at the Central Bank.
“We have not received anything,” the official told the Libya Herald.
He added that, until the crime was solved, there would be no more transfers of cash between Tripoli and Sirte despite the fact that there was a now a shortage of cash in the town. Banks there were having to cooperate and to rely on pooling cash deposits.
The bank robbery is the biggest in Libyan history but it is far from the only one. Several have taken place in Libya towns in recnet months as a result of lack of security.