Brazen robbers at Glebelands Hostel in shootout with police

2016-04-24 11:10
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Durban  As police conducted an operation in the troubled Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi they received a report of a robbery in progress, Kwazulu-Natal police said on Sunday.

“Police spotted the suspects who opened fire on SAPS members while fleeing," said Brigadier Jay Naicker in a statement.

“In the ensuing gun battle one of the suspects was shot and wounded. He was arrested and taken to hospital where he remains under police guard,” Naicker said, adding that a pistol was also recovered from the robber.

Meanwhile, a man wanted for attempted murder at the hostel was one of 19 arrested during the raids, which took place on Friday and Saturday.

“The suspect was wanted for shooting and seriously wounding a resident at the Glebelands hostel in June 2015.”

Naicker said that the operation was carried out following two turbulent years in which “rampant criminality [has been] plaguing the hostel due to infighting by groups living within the hostel,” Naicker said.

Among those arrested were two robbery suspects, four men wanted in connection with public violence, two illegal alcohol traders and 10 drunk drivers. Five vehicles, suspected of being stolen, were also confiscated.

Numerous arrests

Naicker said over the past two years, numerous arrests had taken place at the hostel including those of eight alleged murderers and six attempted murder suspects.

“Over the past two years we have also recovered 43 rifles and handguns as well as 550 rounds of ammunition during our deployments in the hostel," he said.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, suggested some people were conducting a “propaganda campaign” about what was happening at the hostel.

“We are disturbed by the wild and unfounded allegations from people who have no clue of what is going on in the Glebelands Hostel. Unfortunately their propaganda campaign through the media will only benefit them, not the residents of the hostel.”

She said that the criticism of the police in their handling of the situation at the hostel was “unjustified”.

“Peace and stability is in the hands of the people living at the hostel and if they do not work and be honest with all role-players… no matter how many police officers or other security forces we deploy at the hostel, it will not solve the problem.”

Poor co-operation

Naicker said that residents at the hostel provided a “poor level of co-operation”.

He also said that some of the crimes took place outside of the hostel precinct because there was now security present at the hostel itself.

Earlier this month, residents of Glebelands asked the United Nations to send special observers, following the murder of ANC councillor, Zodwa Sibiya, who was shot and killed at the hostel on April 17 on as she escorted a guest to a car.

Sibiya’s slaying was the latest in a string of murders. According to activist Vanessa Burger, 62 people had been killed at the hostel in the past two years.

Faction fighting is commonplace at the hostel, which is administered by the eThekwini Municipality. The fighting is understood to involve the allocation of rooms.

Speaking to News24 at the time, Burger said residents had lost faith in local leadership and they had written to the United Nations, asking it to intervene.

"They have no faith in police or government to take the required action.”

Read more on:    police  |  durban  |  crime

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