Cop and eight suspects killed in Hammarsdale shootout

2017-06-06 13:52
Eight would-be robbers were gunned down by police on Monday morning in Hammarsdale.

Eight would-be robbers were gunned down by police on Monday morning in Hammarsdale. (Supplied)

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A policeman and eight suspected ATM bombers were killed in a shootout in Mophela, Hammarsdale, on Monday.

Various police units, including the elite National Intervention Unit (NIU), and the Durban Dog Unit, as well as Magma Security conducted a joint operation after receiving information on a plan to commit a business robbery in the area.

During the gun battle, 45-year-old Warrant Officer Ndabezinhle Duncan Zwane, a member of the NIU deployed in the province, was killed. Police believe the gang were on their way to bomb an ATM at Hammarsdale Hyper.

“Various explosives and equipment used for blasting ATMs such as detonators, a gas mask, a pair of goggles, a pair of gloves and gel guns were recovered.”

The source said they suspect the rifle used to kill the warrant officer is possibly linked to a farm robbery in Mid Illovo.

KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said when the police confronted the suspects they were met with gunfire.

“The suspects fled the scene but they were later found in the nearby bushes where another shootout with police took place. Three suspects were fatally wounded during this exchange of gunfire.”

The police continued searching and a second group of suspects was tracked down to a homestead in the Mophela area within the Mpumalanga police station area.

During that search another shootout took place and five suspects were killed. Police said they seized two rifles, four handguns, and two cars during the operation.

A resident of Unit 3 in Hammarsdale, where the gun battle ended, said he had heard gunshots in the early hours of the morning.

“We heard gunshots. This morning we saw that the road was cordoned off and there were dead bodies on the road. We came to see what had happened but the police chased us away,” said the resident.

Acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Bheki Langa, said the police who were involved in yesterday’s shootout must be commended for standing their ground.

“This was an armed group who were prepared to kill law enforcement members and had the firepower to do so; while we deeply mourn the loss of the warrant officer, we can be glad that more of our members were not killed by these ruthless criminals,” he said.

In a statement, Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda also applauded the police on their commitment to serve and protect.


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