Police kill nine gangsters

2018-02-06 13:30
Traffic police at the scene where six armed robbers were killed in a shootout with police on the R617 outside Mpophomeni on Monday.

Traffic police at the scene where six armed robbers were killed in a shootout with police on the R617 outside Mpophomeni on Monday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Nine alleged members of an armed robbery syndicate were shot dead and two others were arrested in separate gun battles with police at Mpophomeni and near the Mariannhill toll plaza on Monday afternoon.

The two incidents are said to be linked to a sophisticated criminal syndicate operating throughout the province.

On arrival at the Mpophomeni shootout site, The Witness found police from various units, including the Hawks, the National Intervention Unit and traffic police, at the scene.

Police Task Team members carrying large calibre weapons dressed in camouflage and with balaclavas over their faces patrolled the area as the police waited for the forensics experts to arrive.

Police had cordoned off about 100 metres of the R617 over which the shootout had taken place.

Bright green rings of paint marked the multiple bullet casings scattered along the road.

The two vehicles used by the gang were parked with their doors open, hazard lights blinking.

A white Jetta used by gang members had come to a stop on a grassy bank, with two of its wheels still on the road.

A bakkie involved in a collision with the car stood to the side, and a second car reportedly used by the robber gang was parked further back.

A body lay slumped in the front of the Jetta, which was riddled with bullet holes sprayed across the windscreen.

The second car, a silver Golf 5, also stood with its doors open and hazard lights on. Another body lay near the front driver’s door.

Sources said that the Golf 5 was believed to have been stolen from the Durban area the day before the shootout.

It is believed that the number plates had not been changed.

When The Witness left the scene at around 5 pm, the forensic unit had just arrived. The scene was cordoned off and traffic along the Boston/Bulwer road began to back up.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said members of the special police task force and crime intelligence had received information about a robbery that was going to take place in the Bulwer area.

He said that while police were patrolling the area, they spotted three suspicious-looking vehicles.

“One of the vehicles took the off-ramp towards Durban and the other two cars went towards Mpophomeni along the R617, the Boston/Bulwer road,” he said.

Zwane said the team called for back-up and the K9 Unit responded.

Police had tried to stop one of the vehicles carrying four members of the alleged syndicate just before the Mariannhill toll plaza, but the gang members opened fire on police, who then retaliated.

Three members of the alleged gang were shot dead there and one was injured.

Zwane said police recovered rifles, hand guns and ammunition from the vehicles.

“No police officers were injured,” he said.

The syndicate members are believed to be linked to multiple armed robbery cases across the province.

The identities of the nine dead gang members have not yet been released.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police shooting

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