Pretoria mall evacuated after bomb threat, man who demanded 'large sum' arrested

The Menlyn Maine complex in Pretoria.
The Menlyn Maine complex in Pretoria.
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Brooklyn police say they have arrested a man for making a bomb threat at the Menlyn Maine shopping centre in the east of Pretoria on Tuesday.  

"At around 11:15, an unknown man in his 50s entered a bank at the Menlyn Maine Shopping Centre. He handed a note over to the bank teller who assisted him. The note contained a threat to say that there is a bomb planted inside the bank," police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach said in a statement. 

"The security immediately reacted and evacuated the whole shopping centre. The SAPS responded and arrested the man inside the bank. A firearm was confiscated.

"The SAPS bomb disposal and K9 units were called out and are still on the scene to inspect a device that was found. The shopping centre is not declared as safe yet," Weilbach said. 

The man will be charged with contravention of the Explosive Act No 26 of 1956 for making a false threat. He will appear in the Hatfield Community Court soon.

Bomb squad

A mall representative confirmed to News24 that the mall had been evacuated, saying that the police bomb squad and special task force were on the premises. 

"The situation appears to be under control. A perimeter has been established and people have been moved outside it."

The call to the representative was cut off before his name could be confirmed. 

According to eyewitness accounts on Twitter, a man was inside the Absa branch in the centre, demanding R10m. The exact amount could not be independently confirmed. 

Tshiwela Mhlantla, managing executive, physical channels, RBB, at Absa, said: "A suspect entered our Menlyn Maine branch and threatened to harm himself and those in the branch, unless he was given a large sum of money. He has been apprehended and the branch and building have been evacuated. All our customers and colleagues are safe.". 

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