Suspects taken in for questioning after SANDF military base robbed of 19 automatic rifles

2019-12-24 13:49
SANDF soldiers. (Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

SANDF soldiers. (Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says a few suspects have been taken in for questioning following a break-in at the SANDF's Lyttelton Tek Base and the theft of weapons.

READ | SANDF captain found guilty of supplying info to foreign intelligence services, journalists

SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini confirmed the robbery in a statement on Tuesday but it was not made clear how many suspects had been taken in for questioning or how many weapons had been stolen. 

"The South African National Defence Force herein confirms an incident of a break-in where weapons were stolen at Engineering Formation, Lyttelton Tek Base. Investigations are under way," he said. 

The DA's defence spokesperson Kobus Marais said in a statement that 19 R4 automatic rifles, manufactured for extreme warfare, were taken in the robbery. 

"It is outrageous to even consider that access could be gained into a supposedly highly protected military facility and further grind open a volt where ammunition is kept.

"Having such arms on the streets poses a threat to the safety of citizens and the security of the republic.

"This is a stark reminder of earlier thefts of similar weapons at the 9SAI military base, outside Cape Town, as well as the use of similar military rifles in various bank and cash-in-transit heists," Marais said.

On several occasions, both in the National Assembly and through parliamentary questions about the readiness and preparedness of the SANDF to effectively respond to various military threats, the DA has questioned the defence force's ability to meet its constitutional mandate.

"This embarrassing robbery is a symptom of bigger problems in the SANDF. This incident demands that SANDF commanding officers, the secretary of defence and the Minister of Defence cancel their holidays to launch an investigation and track down the stolen arms.

"It is their constitutional responsibility and is the least they should do in order to show South Africans they are serious about fighting crime and upholding the security of the country," Marais said.

Read more on:    sandf  |  crime
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