Gunmen kill three in Ezakheni ambush

2014-12-01 00:00

THREE people were gunned down in an apparent ambush near Ezakheni Mall in Ladysmith on Friday night.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the victims were returning home from work in a car when unknown gunmen opened fire and killed three occupants on the scene at about 8.30 pm.

One person, the sole survivor of the attack, is believed to be the driver. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was rushed to hospital. The police found a total of 16 cartridges from a 9 mm pistol on the scene, while the vehicle had about 13 bullet holes.

Ladysmith Mayor Vincent Madlala said the driver had stopped the car to remove rocks that had been placed by the gunmen on the road. Madlala suspected that the attackers knew the victims’ vehicle and placed the stones on the road as part of their plot to attack the Roots Butchery owners and employees.

He said the driver collapsed and the attackers may have thought he was dead. Witnesses said the gunmen fled to a nearby vehicle and drove off.

“The community is shocked. We condemn such violence and the community must work with the police to bring the perpetrators to book. We send our heartfelt condolences to the family,” Madlala said.

No personal belongings were taken from the victims. Naicker said the dead have not been officially identified.

The shooting came just over a month after 15 people were shot dead in two incidents in Ezakheni township.

Madlala said it was early to speculate whether the incidents are related.

Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu said the increasing number of violent crimes in Ezakheni and greater Ladysmith is concerning. “It is unacceptable that people can be brutally murdered in this fashion. I have no doubt that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with the perpetrators,” he said.

“We condemn this killing, send our deepest condolences to all the affected families and wish a speedy recovery to the employee who was hospitalised.”

Naicker said charges of murder and attempted murder are being investigated by Ezakheni police. No arrests had been made, he said.

KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said, “It is unacceptable that people are killed in such a brutal manner and those who know who are behind the killings remain silent.”

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