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Eight Nigerians sentenced to death in UAE for ATM robbery

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Automated Teller Machine

Eight Nigerians, all males, were sentenced to death in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday for carrying out a string of armed robberies at money exchanges and cash machines across the emirate in December 2016.

A ninth man was sentenced to six months, followed by deportation, for possession of stolen money. He denied the charge against him and said one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60, 000 to an account in his home country (Nigeria).

Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court handed down the verdict.

According to the Gulf News, a total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. The nine were convicted out of the 20 suspects.

Some of the accused confessed to their crimes, while others denied the charges levelled against them.

The eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out on the same day, December 18, 2016.

The gang, who were all in the UAE on visit visas, were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks transporting moneyboxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.

The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street, where Dh340, 000 was stolen. Two days later, they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda, fleeing with Dh700, 000, as well as an ATM in Muweilah, where they stole Dh710, 000.

The Police foiled a fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints.

The gang of 20 were arrested in record time, but Police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money, almost Dh1.8 million, had been recovered, as the gang members had allegedly divided the money among themselves and transferred it to Nigeria.

The suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with the Police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.

The gang committed the heists at the busiest times of day when streets were crowded, which added to the confusion and enabled them to escape, the Police said.

In each robbery, the assailants struck quickly before Police could arrive, but they could not evade security cameras and Police were able to recognise them through surveillance footage captured at the exchange house in the mall.

Video footage showed the suspects attacking security guards, making off with cash and in one of the robberies, slashing the hands of a security guard with a knife before running away with moneyboxes.

Police believed the suspects had monitored and tracked the security trucks used to transport money for a period of time before launching the attacks.

A prosecutor told Gulf News on Thursday that according to the law, a group of people who threaten the life of others while committing robbery are subject to the death sentence.

The convicts are allowed under the law to appeal the sentences, which if successful, could be reduced to life imprisonment.

News of the Nigerian suspected criminals broke recently following the execution of another Nigerian woman in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking.


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