Two Suspects Shot Dead During Aceh Bank Robbery

Banda Aceh, TAG. A bank heist in Aceh on Tuesday that saw four men threaten staff and customers at gunpoint ended with police shooting dead two of the robbers.
Wielding AK-47 assault rifles and wearing motorcycle helmets, the group burst into the Bank Rakyat Indonesia branch in Pante Bidari, at Lhok Nibong’s traditional market in East Aceh, at 10:30 a.m. before two of the men stepped out to stand guard.
A witness at the scene said that some customers had managed to escape out the back of the bank and inform the police.
“Two were keeping watch and two were inside the bank. When the two who were inside the bank attempted to run out with the stolen money, police shot them dead,” said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
East Aceh Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ridwan Usman confirmed at least two of the robbers were carrying AK-47s and the group had attempted to make away with some Rp 20 million ($2,240).
“A number of customers who were conducting transactions were ordered to get on the ground. The cashier was instructed to collect the money,” he said.
“The police officers guarding the bank were at the back of the building. When the robbers tried to escape, my officers entered and shot two of them.
“The two who were keeping watch outside escaped without even firing a shot. They must have panicked and decided to run.”
Ridwan said one suspect died at the scene while the other died on the way to hospital. One of the dead suspects was identified as 32-year-old Tarmizi.
“So far, there are no indications that this is linked to any terrorist activities. We are still investigating the case,” he said.
Tuesday’s bank robbery bore similarities with an armed holdup at a CIMB Niaga Bank branch in Medan on Aug. 18.
That heist left a policeman dead and two security guards injured, and was linked to a paramilitary group found training in the mountains of Aceh earlier this year.
Police said the Medan heist, along with a series of other robberies at banks, Internet cafes and a money changer across North Sumatra, had been intended to finance terrorist operations in the region.
At least 50 suspected members of the paramilitary group from Aceh have been arrested and several more killed in police raids since February.
However, a police source on Tuesday said the latest robbery was likely linked to the disbanded Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
“We are hunting down the two who escaped. We believe they headed for Nisam, North Aceh,” the source said, adding that Nisam is considered a stronghold of the former separatist group.[]
Two Suspects Shot Dead During Aceh Bank Robbery Two Suspects Shot Dead During Aceh Bank Robbery Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on October 19, 2010 Rating: 5

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