Police have a busy day

2014-06-14 00:00

POLICE in Durban have had their hands full as a string of home and business robberies — characterised by escalating violence — rocked the city in less than 48 hours.

Two gunmen were shot and killed in an exchange of fire with police when a high-speed chase came to an end in New Germany in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The gang led police for nearly 10 kilometres, firing salvos at pursuing officers after a hijacking incident in Westville.

The gang’s escape unravelled when their bullet-peppered car crashed, but they continued to fire on officers who had closed in on them.

A police source close to the investigation, who cannot be named, said two of the hijackers died at the scene.

“Two of the men sustained fatal gunshot wounds and three others were arrested. The gang will be linked to other cases in the area,” the source said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said that the car had been stolen earlier in the day,

“It is alleged that the female victim was earlier hijacked of her grey Volvo. She was accosted by two suspects at gunpoint whilst seated in her car. They instructed her to move over and the suspect drove off with her in the vehicle. She was dropped off at Pineside Road in Pinetown and the suspects drove towards Clermont,” he said.

Naicker said that the stolen car was later spotted.

“The police officers activated their blue lights and ordered the suspects to stop. The suspects fired shots towards the police who returned fire.

“The suspects continued to flee until the driver of the hijacked vehicle allegedly lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall. Three suspects managed to flee on foot into the nearby bushes and were later arrested. Two other suspects were fatally wounded during the shoot-out. Two firearms were seized and will be sent for ballistics tests to ascertain if they were used in any other crime in the country,” he said.

The arrested suspects will appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court soon on charges of attempted murder, hijacking and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

Hours later a group of gunmen, heavily armed with handguns and assault rifles, stormed the Housewives Market on North Coast Road in Redhill.

Shoppers ducked for cover and spilled from the shop as the gang looted tills and onsite offices, before making off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

In the aftermath, police crime scene experts combed the shop for evidence, as employees were herded past a police cordon.

Manager Hasien Khan, who had also been stripped of his cell phone and other personal belongings, could not be drawn to comment on the raid.

In another incident, two off-duty police officers put their lives on the line chasing a group of house robbers they had interrupted in Seaview.

Warrant officer Dumisani Ngobese and his son pursued the robbers on a high-speed freeway chase before a dramatic shootout endangered hundreds of motorists on the N2 near the Westwood Mall.

The robbers fled on foot leaving their stolen car at the roadside.

A search of the car revealed various tools used for housebreaking, including sledgehammers and crowbars.

No one was hurt in the exchange and the suspects remain at large.

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