Libya gunmen steal $54 million in bank van attack

About $54 million was stolen from Sirte branch of the Libyan central bank. (File photo: AFP)

Gunmen attacked a central bank van in the Libyan city of Sirte on Monday, stealing $54 million in different currencies, the official Lana news agency reported.

The report said “10 heavily armed men” had made off with the funds, which were destined for the Sirte branch of the Libyan central bank and had been flown to the city from Tripoli.

Citing an source from the local branch of the central bank, LANA said that the gunmen stole “53 million Libyan dinars ($42 million)” and another $12 million in U.S. dollars and euros.

The gunmen attacked the van on the road between Sirte airport and the town itself, 500 kilometers (300 miles) east of Tripoli, LANA said, without saying if there had been any casualties.

Only one security vehicle had been assigned to protect the van, and the agency said that the guards “were unable to resist the 10 attackers.”

Sirte, the last bastion of support for dictator Muammar Qaddafi to fall to rebel forces in the 2011 uprising, has largely been spared the wave of violence that has swept the country since the strongman’s ouster.

The eastern city of Benghazi -- cradle of the 2011 uprising -- has seen a series of attacks in recent months, including the bombing of a reception hall early Monday which caused damage but did not wound anyone.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41