Most wanted man shot

2010-07-02 00:00

A MAN suspected of being one of the masterminds behind a series of ATM bombings and ruthless cash-in-transit heists across the country was killed in a shootout with police in the Ezakheni area outside Ladysmith yesterday.

The suspect, Xolani Mswane (28), allegedly opened fire on police who traced him to the Mhlamayo area in the Ezakheni district.

He died at the scene during a gun battle with the police, while abn SAPF task force policeman was injured.

According to sources, the officer sustained a gunshot wound in his leg and was airlifted to hospital, but his injury is not believed to be serious.

Police took possession of a 9mm pistol allegedly used by Mswane during the shootout and seized an unknown sum of money.

Mswane was wanted for a spate of alleged crimes, including the death of three policemen who were shot dead when they interrupted an ATM robbery at Amersfoort in Mpumalanga on April 25.

The two police constables and a police reservist reportedly went to inspect a Toyota Conquest vehicle seen parked outside First National Bank in the early hours of the morning when gunmen opened fire on them with firearms such as AK47s and R5 rifles.

The Conquest had earlier sped away when police tried to stop it, raising their suspicions.

The attackers stole the officers’ firearms in the wake of the shooting.

Mswane was also allegedly linked to a ruthless cash-in-transit robbery on the N11 outside Ladysmith on October 10 last year, when a heavily armed gang of robbers used a hijacked truck to ram a G4S cash security van.

The van veered off the road and landed on its side.

One of the robbers was badly hurt and died in the crash.

Three security guards sustained critical injuries.

However, the robbers were not deterred and used explosives to blow open the back door of the cash vehicle.

They escaped with an unknown sum of money as well as weapons.

Mswane was also suspected of involvement in many other ATM bombings and cash heists in KwaZulu Natal and other parts of the country.

He was regarded as one of the country’s most wanted criminals.

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