The Habib Bank branch in Al Buhairah that was robbed by five masked and armed men last year. Image Credit: Aghaddir Ali/Gulf News Archives

Sharjah: An African man was handed a life sentence on Wednesday for robbing Habib Bank Limited in Sharjah.

The Sharjah Criminal Court also sentenced four other gang members to 15 years in jail. All the convicts will be deported after completing their jail term.

The case dates back to July 25, 2017, when three masked men raided the premises and fled with an unspecified amount of money.

According to the court records, three out of the five-member gang — including two Africans wearing masks — stormed one of the Pakistan-headquartered bank’s branches in Sharjah. One of them also wore an abaya and niqab to conceal his identity. Armed with a gun, they took cash from the tellers and fled in a vehicle waiting outside the bank.

The gang members — including three Arab men and two Africans — told the judge that the one of them entered the bank wearing an abaya and niqab, to distract the staff before the robbery.

Describing the incident, the bank’s spokesperson said that three masked men carrying guns raided the premises, grabbed cash from one of the tellers and fled in a vehicle.

The incident had occurred at the Habib Bank branch located in Al Buhairah near the corniche. The police operations room received a call around 11am reporting the robbery.

Police investigations led to the arrest of the five me involved in the robbery.

The police have not disclosed how much money was stolen by the suspects, but sources said investigators were looking at the CCTV footage and speaking to eyewitnesses.

Camera footage showed the getaway vehicle halted outside the bank.