Nine gangsters shot dead

2016-12-12 11:22
One of the vehicles believed to have been used by the suspects was towed away early yesterday morning, after police and forensics worked until the early hours of Sunday clearing the scene where nine suspects were killed.

One of the vehicles believed to have been used by the suspects was towed away early yesterday morning, after police and forensics worked until the early hours of Sunday clearing the scene where nine suspects were killed. (Supplied)

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A small war erupted in the Howick countryside on Saturday night as nine members of a gang were shot dead by a specialised police unit.

Police sources revealed yesterday that they had earlier received information about the suspects, one of them being a notorious sangoma, who were allegedly on their way to bomb ATMs in Howick on Saturday night.

The special task force, including Durban Crime Intelligence, K9 and the Organised Crime units, caught up with the suspects on the R107 between Boston and Bulwer, at about 8.30 pm.

The confrontation resulted in the suspects, who were travelling in four vehicles, firing a hail of bullets at the police units.

Two of the four-vehicle convoy, a white Nissan NP200 bakkie and a silver Opel Corsa bakkie, were seen about four kilometres from Mpophomeni.

Sources said the suspects used three AK47 rifles and an R5 rifle.

“Police returned fire and after a hail of bullets were exchanged, nine suspects were down and no police officer was injured,” said a source who asked not to be named.

The suspects were also found with three batches of already primed commercial explosives, with detonators and fuses, that were suspected to be used to bomb a Howick ATM that night.

Police also found four 9 mm pistols with them.

The police sources said the suspects were linked to the murder of a Kokstad policewoman recently, and numerous ATM bombings and armed robberies in the province.

One wounded suspect is believed to have been admitted to a city hospital where he is under heavy guard.

While the full details of the shooting could not yet be ascertained yesterday, The Witness understands that the sangoma, who was killed during the exchange of bullets, is believed to have been controversial traditional healer Mduduzi Manqele.

Manqele was linked to the murder of Loyiso Jokweni (18), who was beheaded in France township.

Jokweni’s head was found months later in the freezer of Roger Thusi in France township.

On his arrest, Thusi said Jokweni had been killed on the direction of Manqele. Manqele was arrested and the irate community burned down his home and looted his businesses.

But the case against him collapsed in 2011 and he was later released.

It is believed Manqele would supply traditional medicine to the suspects apprehended on Saturday night, which would allegedly offer them safety while carrying out their crimes.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda issued a stern warning to criminals that police have been placed on high alert to deal with such threats during this festive season.

Kaunda said those who fire at police officers should expect police to defend life, limb and property without hesitation.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police shooting

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