Angry mob torches suspected robbers in Philippi

Browns Farm residents in Philippi took the law into their own hands, allegedly setting alight two men accused of being part of an ambush where an off-duty police officer was shot in his home.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said the charred remains of two unknown men were found in Debeza Street at about 5.10 pm on Sunday after the two men were stoned to death and set alight.

“The incident was in all probability sparked by an armed robbery where an off-duty police officer was robbed by three armed men who demanded his firearm and cellphone.

“Shots were discharged at the police officer during the altercation and he was wounded in the leg. He was admitted to the hospital. No one has been arrested at this stage,” said Traut.

He added that a manhunt for the third suspect who managed to escape the angry mob with the off-duty policeman’s firearm had been launched.

Philippi Community Policing Forum (CPF) secretary Melikhaya Gadeni said residents believed the suspects might be part of the Amphela (Avanza sedan taxis) syndicate allegedly terrorising the community.

“Residents are tired of the armed robberies and house break-ins committed by Amaphela. The Avanzas would usually commit the break-ins in the morning, targeting households where everyone is at work and at school. Now we are in lockdown you would expect such incidents not to happen.

“When the suspects came in an Avanza and shots were fired, residents responded fast and caught them. One escaped but the other two met fed-up residents who wanted to send a strong message,” said Gadeni.

However, the CPF condemned residents’ actions, saying the suspects should have been handed over to the police.

Meanwhile, two teens aged 14 and 15 were arrested after they allegedly robbed an e-hailing taxi driver in Nyanga last Thursday.

It is believed the teens requested a ride from Claremont and when they reached Nyanga they pulled out a firearm, assaulted him, and robbed him of his cash, cellphone, and wallet.

Traut said the two suspects appeared in court on a charge of robbery. “The suspects requested a ride from Claremont and when they reached Nyanga they pointed a firearm at the driver, assaulted him and robbed him of cash, cellphone, and wallet.”

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