Paramedics held hostage after responding to fake emergency, ambulance stripped of parts

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Mpumalanga police launched a manhunt after paramedics were held hostage while seven suspects stripped an ambulance of parts.
Mpumalanga police launched a manhunt after paramedics were held hostage while seven suspects stripped an ambulance of parts.
PHOTO: Supplied
  • An ambulance was stripped of parts while paramedics were held hostage in Mpumalanga.
  • It is alleged that the robbers pretended that a woman was in labour on a farm.
  • A manhunt for the robbers has since been launched.

Paramedics were held hostage in Mpumalanga on Sunday while the ambulance they were using was stripped of its engine, gearbox, battery and tyres.

According to police, seven people hatched a plan to pretend that a woman was in labour on a farm in Spitzkop Road, Belfast and that she needed medical care.

READ | Emergency services could be withdrawn due to attacks on staff in Gauteng

A Volkswagen Crafter ambulance was dispatched in response to the call for help, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said.

"At around 21:30, it is said that a follow-up call was received by the paramedics, whereby the caller requested to meet with the medical staff at a certain spot for...directions to the scene.

"Little did the medical staff know that this was an orchestrated robbery," Mohlala added.

When the ambulance arrived at the spot, two men emerged. They were wearing balaclavas.

"The suspects allegedly held them hostage and took their cellphones from them, before they tied them up with cable ties, but kept [them] inside the ambulance," Mohlala  said.

Mohlala added:

The ambulance was reportedly driven to another place where five more suspects were noticed.

According to Mohlala, the estimated value of the parts that were stolen was about R300 000.

"These motor parts were then loaded into another vehicle and surprisingly, the suspects gave the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel the cellphones taken earlier, before they left the scene. 

"The victims later managed to alert their supervisor and directed them [to] the location where they were," Mohlala added.

The paramedics were rescued and the incident was reported to Belfast police.

A robbery case was opened and a manhunt for the perpetrators has since been launched.

Provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela said: "As law enforcement officers, we will not allow a situation like this, whereby emergency workers will be hindered to carry out their duties by criminals.

"We will do all in our power to bring them to book and they cannot escape the arm of the law."

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