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The bombings of ATMs in Cape Town could be the work of syndicates who have moved here from other provinces as it became clear the police were about to nab them, experts say.
On Wednesday an ATM in Lansdowne Road became the 17th one in the Western Cape this year to be targeted by bombers. No one was injured.
The Hawks are working with industry bodies to try to nab the bombers in the same way that they stemmed the bombing campaign in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Institute of Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said there were many scenarios that could be at play, including bombers coming from other provinces, a new syndicate having been formed or cash-in-transit robbers changing their game.
Burger said it appeared that an explosives expert, who could come from the mining industry and who had access to explosives, was part of the syndicate.
He said only an expert would be able to ensure a controlled blast that did not blow up an ATM’s cash box.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said: “It’s common for syndicates to migrate when we focus on them in a certain area or province.”
Towards the end of last year, a number of people were arrested across the country in connection with the bombings of ATMs.
The Hawks have taken over the investigation, and this year two men were arrested. Polela said they had set up a team of investigators and that part of the investigation focused on the possibility that the syndicates, who had been operating in Gauteng and KZN, had moved to the Western Cape.
SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) chief executive Kalyani Pillay said they were concerned at the increase in ATM bombings here.
Pillay said: “The use of excessive force, in particular dangerous weapons, is of particular concern to the industry, especially since perpetrators of these attacks have no regard for human lives.”