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Salary robbers arrested in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, money recovered

Salary robbers arrested in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, money recovered

2019/03/13 | 12:25

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- A collage of the two vehicles in the robbery and the money stolen by the gang in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan. March, 13, 2019. Photo: Kurdish police/K24

SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Sulaimani security forces arrested the group of gunmen early on Wednesday, who, a day earlier, reportedly stole close to $1.35 million USD in government salaries.

“The salaries of Shar Hospital employees have now been recovered and the culprits have been arrested in cooperation with the ministry of interior, Asayesh, police, counter-terrorism forces, the relevant institutions of the province of Sulaimani, and the people,” Minister of Finance of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Rebaz Hamlan said in a post on Facebook on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a group of armed men had set up an ambush for a van that was to transport the large sum of money from a local bank to the hospital in question. As the van made its way over, the culprits attacked the vehicle, prompting the van’s driver to come to a halt.











Initial reports quoting police sources claimed the amount of money had been close to $1.5 million USDs, but an official from the hospital later stated the amount was 1.628 billion Iraqi dinars, close to $1.35 million USDs.

The driver and passengers of the official vehicle were forced out of the van and the robbers took off with it. They then dumped the van near a cemetery southeast of the city and unloaded the cash onto a Nissan Patrol and Nissan Cedric of their own.

The government vehicle is believed to have had no security forces guarding it, leaving it open to the brazen, broad-daylight robbery.

Hamlan thanked all security forces for their efforts in recovering the money and arresting the criminals. He hoped that banks coordinate with security forces before starting to transfer money to other locations.

The seven robbers are from Sulaimani, local police and Asayesh also said in a press conference on Wednesday.

They also confirmed “seven people have been arrested in connection with the incident,” adding that “the band had planned the robbery 10 days ago, and the last group member was fortunately arrested this morning.”

The authorities said the head of the group lives near the bank and an employee of the hospital which was supposed to receive the money might have an indirect connection with the incident.

The Sulaimani Police Director during a press conference said there were seven persons in total involved in the robbery, all of whom were arrested “in and around” the city, meaning a number of them were attempting to leave Sulaimani to escape the authorities.

The incident comes days after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to the delight of public servants across the region, announced the end of austerity measures that saw government salaries slashed for the past few years.

The police chief also said that the money would be transported to the hospital immediately to be distributed to the employees.

Copyright © 2019, respective author or news agency, Ekurd.net | rudaw.net | kurdistan24.net

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