Suspected assassins kill cop

2011-09-08 00:00

INVESTIGATIONS into the murder of ANC Ethekwini regional secretary Sibusiso Sibiya took a dramatic turn when a police officer was shot dead in Welbedacht low-cost housing settlement outside Chatsworh at about 1.30 am yesterday.

Two other officers were also shot. One is in a critical condition in hospital and the other was treated and discharged.

Warrant Officer Rakesh Maharaj was part of a group of about 15 officers from the national intervention unit (NIU) and the Hawks who raided a house in Welbedacht following a tip-off a week ago that two suspects involved in the Sibiya murder were hiding there.

Sibiya was shot in the head and shoulder in the driveway of his house at Inanda in July.

When the team got to the house, it is alleged, the suspects refused to surrender, but instead opened fire on the police.

The police retaliated, killing the two suspects. Two unlicensed handguns were recovered at the scene.

Maharaj was shot in the chest and died at the scene.

NIU member Sivuyile Ngodwana is on life support system at Chatsmed Hospital after he was shot three times in the stomach. Detective Rajesh Maharaj sustained gunshot wounds to the hand and hip.

Maharaj was buried at the Dravida Hall in Clare Estate, Durban, yesterday afternoon.

Said his nephew, family spokesperson Yasteel Panday, “My uncle was a pillar in the family and society, and has over the years established himself as a service provider to this country.

“We have no doubt that justice will be meted out and his legacy will live on through the good work of the police force.”

Maharaj is the 16th officer to be killed in the province this year.

Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele reportedly instructed police officers to use their guns decisively.

Cele said, “Our officers did what they had to do by killing those criminals or else more of our officers would have been casualties.”

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said that at this stage he cannot say how the suspects were involved in the murder of Sibiya as the matter is still under investigation.

He also could not say whether the police are investigating professional hitmen.

ANC provincial spokesperson Makhosi Khoza said the party’s wish is to see those who committed these heinous crimes brought to justice.

Khoza said, “It is unfortunate that law enforcers have to die in this fashion and in the line of duty.

“We are still waiting the day when those implicated in this incident and those involved in the killing of Comrade Sbu are brought to book.”

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