Fight gunfire with fire

2017-05-04 06:01

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, responding to an attempted robbery and hostage taking incident which took place on Monday, May Day at the Nyanga Junction Mall, has vowed that criminals who plan to terrorise citizens, will meet their match in the police.

He visited the mall on Tuesday to assuage the fears of shoppers after the mall was the scene of shots in the early hours of Monday morning.

According to police reports, about three suspects entered the Shoprite retail store at the complex in an attempt to rob, but when security guards were alerted, the suspect started shooting at them, fatally wounding one. Residents also reported hearing a volley of gunfire, which means a shoot -out ensued between the suspects and security guards.

When police arrived, they found that two culprits were holding about 10 employees of the store hostage.

Patrick Castle, 25, the security guard who was shot during the initial standoff died in of his injuries in hospital on Tuesday.

One unnamed suspect was reportedly fatally wounded on the scene.

Mbalula was accompanied by his deputy Bongani Mkongi and Patrick Mbotho, the Acting Provincial Commissioner and Provincial Head of Investigation.

Mbalula said the gloves were off as far as criminals who terrorise innocent citizens.

“Criminals are armed and dangerous. We will meet fire with fire and that is within the law. We must deal with crime according to its merit. They will meet their match. We want to intensify our efforts in fighting crime. The criminals did not win in this robbery. They must pray that they left alive. They were too weak for the police force. We regret the loss of life. Today somebody is fatherless, because of the criminals,” he said.

He also suggested that the robbery was an internal work.

Mbalula also praised Shoprite for “taking care” of the employees that were held hostage, the security guards for their quick response and also the police officers who managed the scene.

Herman Bosman, kidnapping and extortion manager for TSU Protection Services, said they will stop at nothing in their fight against crime.

“We are more determined to combat crime. We are very upset about his (Castle) death. He put his life second to serve the people,” he said.

Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, the acting national commissioner of SAPS, also thanked the operational members for risking their lives to save the hostages.

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