Bank, cops stunned by rapid fire bombs

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Absa is concerned and police are shocked after the bombing of five of the bank's ATMs in Ekurhuleni yesterday.

The blasts took place at the Kempton Park CBD and Elspark between 2am and 3am.

Absa spokesman Patrick Wadula said the latest bombing of the ATMs had left the company deeply concerned and the bank was devising plans to deal with future attacks.

"From the business side the fact that four of our ATMs were bombed at the same time raises a serious concern. There are measures in place to improve our security to counter the attacks on our ATMs.

"We are working closely with the police to come up with solutions. It costs a lot of money to replace a damaged ATM," said Wadula.

He said Absa urged the community to report the robberies to the police.

Four ATMs were blown up at the same time at about 2am in Kempton Park by about five robbers wearing balaclavas fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police spokesman Captain Jethro Mtshali said the robbers fled in a BMW and three unidentified cars.

He said the simultaneous bombings was the first of its kind in Kempton Park.

"A police special task team has been established to look into the modus operandi of the ATM bombings. They would look at each case individually to find out how best to pre-empt the attacks.

"The focus would be to understand the nature of these bombings," said Mtshali.

The Elspark ATM was bombed by 15 robbers armed with automatic rifles an hour after the first four bombings.

A security guard was disarmed before the robbery.

Police spokesman Inspector Sasa Lengene said she was "shocked at the increasing rate of ATM bombings".

The robbers fled with two money boxes and police said they feared they would strike again. "We are still to examine CCTV footage to try and identify those responsible.

"Some of these robbers take only three minutes to finish the job. This means we have to get experts to assist us," said Lengene.

No one has been arrested and the cases of malicious damage to property and dealing with explosives were opened.