ON Monday, police officers from various operational units conducted an intelligence-driven operation in Bulwer to follow up on information about a planned robbery in the area.
Surveillance was conducted and three suspicious looking vehicles were spotted. The police officers monitored the activities of the vehicles and two of the vehicles left the area and proceeded towards Boston and Bulwer while the third vehicle headed onto the N3 freeway towards Durban.
Police officers attempted to pull over the first two vehicles at Mpophomeni and they came under heavy gunfire. During the exchange, six suspects were fatally wounded, and one suspect was injured and taken to hospital under police guard.
SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said high caliber rifles and handguns were recovered from both vehicles and it was discovered that one of the vehicles was hijacked in the central Durban area.
“Police also attempted to pull over the third vehicle which was travelling on the N3 freeway near Marianhill and the occupants of the vehicle also opened fire on police. During the exchange, three suspects were fatally wounded and one suspect was injured and taken to hospital for treatment under police guard,” said Zwane.
He added that rifles and handguns were also seized from the vehicle. All the recovered firearms will be subjected to ballistic tests to establish if they were used in any other crimes.
Cases of attempted murder and possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition were opened for further investigation. Zwane said inquest dockets were also opened regarding the deaths of the suspects.
KwaZulu-Natal acting provincial Commissioner Major-General Bheki Langa expressed relief that no police officer was killed when the armed robbers shot at them. “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,” Langa said.