DURBAN– Eight alleged ATM bombers have died in a shoot-out with police near Howick and several high-powered firearms and explosives were recovered, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Sunday.
The shoot-out occurred during a police operation at about 8.45pm on Saturday along the R617 in Mpophomeni near Howick, spokesman Brigadier Jay Naicker said.
Members of the Hawks, together with crime intelligence, the K9 unit, and special task force acted on intelligence regarding suspects wanted for their involvement in a police murder, ATM bombings, and armed robberies. The intelligence indicated that the suspects were planning to bomb ATMs in Howick, he said.
The special task force members attempted to stop the two identified vehicles along the R617 about 15km from Howick. “The suspects opened fire on special task force members, using AK-47 rifles and an R5 rifle.”
A shout-out ensued resulting in eight suspects being shot dead and one wounded. The wounded suspect was taken to hospital for treatment. Three AK-47 assault rifles, one R5 rifle, and four 9mm pistols were recovered in the suspects’ possession. Two hijacked vehicles were also recovered, as well a bag of already primed commercial explosives,” Naicker said.
KwaZulu-Natal acting police commissioner Maj-Gen Bheki Langa applauded the joint police operation that led to the interception of the suspects.
“The interception of this gang is a major boost for our safer festive season operations. The citizens and businesses in this province are much safer as a result of this intervention. It is fortunate that such multi-disciplinary operations are yielding results and curtailing the shopping spree of criminal gangs,” Langa said.