Police shoot dead Free State student commune robber, arrest another and on the hunt for one more

2018-05-06 12:30
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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An alleged robber has been shot dead and another arrested after they apparently attacked a student commune in Universitas, Bloemfontein, Free State police said on Sunday.

A group of students at a commune were "pounced on by three armed men… and ordered to lie down", said Colonel Thandi Mbambo about the incident which happened late on Friday night.

"The suspects took two laptops that were in the kitchen, then went into the bedroom of another student and took two more laptops and a Vodafone cellphone."

READ: Arrested KZN student confessed on Facebook to killing ex-girlfriend

When another student exited his room in the building they robbed him of two laptops and a cellphone.

"A provincial task team which had been sent up to investigate robberies involving students trace the suspects to a house in JB Mafora later that night.

"On arrival, one of the suspects pulled out a firearm and the police reacted by firing a shot which fatally wounded the suspect."

Third suspect

Another alleged robber, aged 31, was arrested, while the third fled the scene.

The stolen property and a gun were found and confiscated.

"The arrested suspect will appear in court soon on charges of house robbery and possession of unlicensed firearm."

Police are still on the lookout for the third suspect.

IPID will investigate the shooting dead of the suspect by the police officer.

Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Moeketsi Sempe, welcomed the arrests of those "terrorizing and robbing students".

"Any suspect who shall attempt to threaten the life of a police officer in the execution of his or her duty or a law abiding citizen, such act shall be met with an equivalent action within the ambit of the law," Sempe added.

Meanwhile, Parliament's Higher Education Committee chair Connie September, on Sunday called for all universities to tighten their access control to campus and residences.

This follows the killing of a student at the Mangosuthu University of Technology.

Twenty-one-year-old quantity surveying student Zolile Khumalo was shot dead at her Durban residence in the early hours of Wednesday, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.

The man allegedly later confessed on Facebook to having killed her.

September said universities needed to tighten residential security as the new-found freedom among many students could unintentionally expose them to abuse.

"At the committee we are interested to know who gave access to this person and what motivation did he advance. The university must investigate this incident, and make sure no stones would be left unturned."

She said that if students had assisted in allowing the murderer into the residence, they need to be disciplined accordingly.

"Murder of female students on campuses is despicable. These are the same students who are still battling rape culture and recognition in academia. A situation where campuses become places of torment should not be allowed," she said.

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