K9 cop’s last duty call

2012-11-08 00:00

A CALL for help turned out to be the last call to duty for a Pietermaritzburg police officer.

Constable Vidhur Jadoo and his partner, Warrant Officer Livingston Mpangase, were ambushed and shot by suspected ATM bombers in the Howick area in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Both members of the award-winning Pietermaritzburg K9 unit were shot by attackers believed to have been armed with AK47s, R5 and R4 rifles, and pistols.

Jadoo died in hospital. Mpangase is recovering there.

Mpangase was said to be devastated at the loss of his partner of four years and described him as a “quiet gentleman”.

Jadoo’s wife, Ashreena, was inconsolable yesterday.

She said she did not know how she was going to carry on without him.

She described her husband as a dedicated man. “He would have done anything for the force, and for such a thing to happen is very shocking.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Oberholzer, the commander of the PMB Dog Unit, said Jadoo’s death was a great loss.

“It’s going to be very hard to find anyone more dedicated and passionate about his job.”

The unit recently received an award for the best K9 unit in KZN. “These two officers contributed immensely to the winning of that award and in the fight against crime,” Oberholzer said.

Jadoo and Mpangase had responded to a call for assistance by the Howick police, who were chasing a white Mitsubishi Colt at around 2 am yesterday.

A police spokesperson in Howick, Captain Lolly Moodley, said the bakkie had been positively linked to a bombing of an ATM at the Merrivale Spar Centre near Howick last week.

Moodley said the Howick police were patrolling when they received a report of an armed robbery at Midmar Dam workshop. A security guard, Sibusiso Shezi (28), told the police he had been of robbed his cellphone and wallet by two gunmen who also tried to steal diesel from the workshop.

The police chased the bakkie. Two occupants, who were seated on the back of the bakkie, started firing shots at the police. The police returned fire from their vehicle.

A chase ensued along the N3 southbound and the suspects took the Midmar off-ramp and fled into Mthandibizi. The Howick police called for backup from the Pietermaritzburg Dog Unit to which Mpangase and Constable Jadoo responded.

The Howick police lost the suspects in the Howick West area, but the dog unit unwittingly cornered the suspects.

It appears the pair drove into an ambush. Their attackers had turned off the bakkie’s lights and lay in wait.

Their attackers lay on their stomachs in the back of the bakkie and opened fire when Jadoo and Mpangase were close enough.

Both officers sustained gunshot wounds to the head. The attackers escaped and Mpangase, lying wounded in the car, saw another police vehicle and flicked his lights to draw the attention of the driver.

The pair were rescued and taken to hospital. Jadoo died two hours later. At the scene, police found 38 cartridges, including those from an R5, an AK47 and a 9 mm pistol, and an AK47 magazine with 30 live rounds.

They also recovered eight R5 cartridges at the Tweedie on-ramp where the shooting began.

Provincial commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni said it was disheartening to lose officers in such circumstances. She said the killing of police in KZN was denying the community their constitutional rights to be protected.

Ngobeni urged members of the public to engage with the police to bring the perpetrators to book.

“This is something that should never have happened,”she said after visiting Jadoo’s family.

The gunmen’s vehicle was found abandoned in the Merrivale Industrial Park area.

Police found a Brazilian Taurus revolver on the vehicle driver’s seat, and at the back of the van four electric detonators and 10 commercial explosives, all in a sealed packet.

Murder, attempted murder and armed robbery dockets have been opened.

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