In a continuous effort to curb the scourge of trio crimes throughout the country, various units of the SAPS are hard at work identifying and tracking syndicates and attempting to prevent serious crimes, including armed robberies, before they happen. This gives effect to the National Trio Crimes Action Plan formulated by SAPS management earlier this year.
In an incident which began last night and continued through to this morning, a shootout between members of the SAPS National Intervention Unit (NIU) and alleged robbers resulted in a policeman and eight suspected robbers being killed.
The SAPS NIU and K9 Unit responded to information about a possible ATM bombing that was going to take place last night in the Hammarsdale Industrial area. Our members confronted the suspects and they were met with gunfire during which a 44 year old Warrant Officer from the National Intervention Unit was tragically shot dead.
The suspects fled the scene on foot but they were later found in the nearby bushes where another shootout with police took place. Three suspects were fatally wounded during this exchange of gunfire.
The SAPS team continued with the search for members of this armed gang and a second group of suspects were tracked down to a homestead in the Mophela area within the Mpumalanga Police Station precinct. In another exchange of gunfire where police were forced to respond, a further five suspects were fatally wounded. So far, during the processing of the scenes, police have recovered two rifles, four handguns, five explosive devices, two detonators, a gas mask, a goggle, a pair of gloves and two cars.
The Acting Provincial Commissioner has expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family of the fallen member.
“Our members put their lives on the line on a daily basis to ensure that the people of South Africa are and feel safe,” said the Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa.
“We commend our members for standing their ground against an armed group who were prepared to kill law enforcement members and had the fire power to do so; while we deeply mourn the loss of the warrant officer, we can be glad that more of our members were not killed by these ruthless criminals,” added Major General Langa.
The SAPS Provincial Organized Crime Unit is investigating the matter and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate has been informed of the events that unfolded.