Homestead raids recover weapons and livestock

2008-03-26 00:00

MORE weapons, livestock, a stolen vehicle and bags of dagga were recovered in Bergville, following the boundary dispute that led to the murders of five people in the area.

Yesterday, the number of firearms recovered in Bergville reached 35.

Police also found cattle and horses that were stolen during the clash.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Jay Naicker said that police launched an operation to disarm the local people.

“It became clear that it was important to disarm groups running amok in the area to ensure peace and stability and a climate suitable for negotiation,” he said.

He said that the arsenal cache contained automatic guns and handguns.

“By yesterday, police officials had recovered a total of 35 firearms and arrested 21 suspects for various offences. The recovered firearms were four AK-47 rifles, one shotgun, three .303 rifles, one .22 rifle, nine 38 revolvers and 18 .9 mm pistols.

“Six stolen cattle, four horses, one stolen motor vehicle and three bags of dagga were also recovered during the operations.”

According to Naicker, four of the suspects were charged with murder and 19 were charged for being in possession of unlicensed firearms.

All suspects were expected to appear in court yesterday.

The operation was a joint effort of members of the National Intervention Unit, Public Order Policing, the Provincial Task Team, the Dog Unit, the Stock Theft Unit and Saps Bergville. The teams swooped on the homesteads of suspected criminals.

Naicker said most of the areas are not easily accessible by motor vehicle.

“Three choppers were used to deploy police officials to these areas.” He said more arrests and recoveries are expected as the operation continues.

Saps provincial commissioner Hamilton Ngidi and his management spent two days in Bergville negotiating with parties involved in the conflict.

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