A 30-hour robbery and hostage drama involving two Indian men and a three-member Indian family in the Omani city of Salalah ended last week with the death of one of the men and arrest of the other.
When contacted by The Indian Express, a relative of the family involved confirmed local media reports that the family was held hostage by the two men for nearly 30 hours.
After the two finally left the house on Friday, the family alerted local police who nabbed one of the alleged robbers from the airport minutes before he was to board a flight to Kerala — the other succumbed to his injuries after jumping from his flat to avoid police.
The family that was robbed hails from Mala in Kerala’s Thrissur district while one of the assailants is from Thiruvananthapuram and the other, who died, belonged to Kochi.
According to Libin Dev, a Salalah resident, the robbery occurred at the home of his relative Vamadevan, a tailoring shop owner.
“Vamadevan and his wife Shuba had just sent their 13-year-old son to school when the doorbell rang. Vamadevan opened the door and was quickly overpowered by two men who smothered the faces of both husband and wife with a cloth soaked in some chemical. After they fell unconscious, the two tied them to chairs,’’ said Dev.
“They then drugged both. At noon, when the boy returned home, he was met at the door by the two men who held a knife to his neck, tied him to a chair and forced to him take some drugs too,” he added.
According to Dev, whenever Vamadevan and Shuba woke up, the two men would hit them, and ask for their ATM cards and passwords, before drugging them again. “They also searched for gold and money, damaging cupboards and furniture,” Dev said.
According to local reports, when Shuba attempted to shout out once, one of the robbers hit her on the throat with a piece of pipe. On Friday morning, the reports added, the duo left the house with money, gold, electronic goods and ATM cards.
“Hours later, Vamadevan woke up and managed to alert his relatives in the city. By afternoon they were taken to a hospital, where a critically injured Shuba was admitted to the intensive care unit,” said Dev.
The family also informed police about the incident. “While being held hostage, Vamadevan had heard one of the assailants talking to someone over the phone about his plan to board a flight to Kozhikode on Saturday morning,” said Dev.
Early on Saturday, police picked up Anil Kumar from the Salalah airport. Information obtained from Kumar led police to the flat where the other assailant, Shameer, was staying. Shameer tried to escape by jumping out through the ventilator of the flat but was seriously injured as he fell; he succumbed to his injuries later.
“All the items stolen were recovered, except for a portion of the money,” said Dev.