9 suspected robbers killed in shootout with KZN police

2018-02-06 11:01
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Durban – Nine alleged robbers carrying "high calibre rifles and handguns" were killed in a shootout with police in Mpophomeni, outside Pietermaritzburg and on the N3 near the Mariannhill Toll Plaza, west of Durban, police said on Tuesday.

Two other suspects were injured and taken to hospital under police guard after the exchange of gunfire with police on Monday, said Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane.

Zwane said police officers from various operational units conducted an intelligence driven operation at Bulwer, a small town in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, after they received information with regards to a planned robbery in the area.

ALSO READ: 3 arrested after Durban car chase, shootout

"Observations were conducted and three suspicious looking vehicles were spotted in the area. The police officers monitored the activities of these vehicles. Two of these vehicles left the area and proceeded towards Boston and Bulwer, while the third vehicle headed onto the N3 freeway towards Durban," he said.

Zwane said that, when the police attempted to pull the first two vehicles over at Mpophomeni, they came under heavy gunfire.

"During an exchange of gunfire, six suspects were fatally wounded. The seventh suspect was injured and taken to hospital under police guard. High calibre rifles and handguns were recovered from both vehicles. It was discovered that one of the recovered vehicles was hijacked in the Durban central area," he said.

'We will not be intimidated by armed thugs'

Police also attempted to pull over the third vehicle, which was travelling on the N3 towards Durban, near Mariannhill.

The occupants of the vehicle also opened fire on the police officers, Zwane said.

"During the exchange of gunfire, three suspects were fatally wounded. A fourth suspect was injured and taken to hospital under police guard for treatment," he said.

Rifles and handguns were also seized from the vehicle, Zwane said.

ALSO READ: Suspected robber wounded in shootout with KZN police, two others arrested

"All the recovered firearms will be subjected to ballistic tests to establish if they were used in any other crimes in the country. Cases of attempted murder, as well as possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, were opened for further investigation," he said.

Inquest dockets were opened regarding the death of the suspects, he said.

Acting provincial commissioner Major General Bheki Langa expressed his relief that no police officers were killed in the shootout.

"Every day our police officers are met with gunfire when they attempt to carry out their duties by arresting criminals. Police officers are always reminded to be operationally ready at all times.

"We will not be intimidated by armed thugs and we will continue to serve and protect the citizens of this province," he said.

Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  shootings  |  crime

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