5 suspects killed in highway shoot-out

2009-01-21 00:00

IT was a case of a robbery gone completely wrong when police shot and killed five men, who were part of a gang of nine, believed to be on their way to Pietermaritzburg for an armed robbery.

The N3 northbound near Camperdown was abuzz with action as police tape condoned off the crime scene, where listless bodies lay in pools of blood as the rain poured.

The road was backed up with traffic for more than 20 km as cars tried to weave through the one lane left open.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the shootout between the police and alleged robbers occurred at around 5 pm.

Detectives from Durban’s Organised Crime Unit had received information that a taxi, carrying the nine men with firearms, was on its way to Pietermaritzburg for a robbery, although the place where the robbery was to take place is still unknown. They kept watch on the highway and eventually spotted the suspected taxi.

The taxi was then followed and a short distance before the Lion Park turn off, the driver of the taxi was ordered to pull over.

But whilst the taxi stopped, the alleged robbers alighted and opened fire on the police.

“The detectives were forced to return fire in self defence. A shootout then ensued resulting in five of the suspects being fatally wounded and subsequent arrest of the remaining four suspects,” Budhram said.

Several hand guns belonging to the suspects were found at the scene and Budhram said the four suspects will be charged for attempted armed robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms, as well as attempted murder on members of the SAPS.

Only one policeman was reported to have been slightly injured, but received treatment on the scene.

Circumstances surrounding the shooting will be investigated, Budhram said.

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