KwaZulu-Natal acting provincial commissioner Major-General Bheki Langa expressed his relief that no police officer was killed when armed robbers shot at them to avoid arrest on Monday, Berea Mail reports.
“Every day our police officers are met with gunfire when they attempt to carry out their duties by arresting criminals. Police officers are always reminded to be operationally ready at all times. We will not be intimidated by armed thugs and we will continue to serve and protect the citizens of this province,” he said.
On Monday, police officers from various operational units conducted an intelligence driven operation at Bulwer following up on information with regards to a planned robbery in the area. Observations were conducted, and three suspicious looking vehicles were spotted in the area.
The police officers monitored the activities of these vehicles. Two of these vehicles left the area and proceeded towards Boston and Bulwer while the third vehicle headed on to the N3 freeway towards Durban.
“Police officers attempted to pull over the first two vehicles at Mpophomeni and they came under heavy gunfire. During and exchange of gunfire six suspects were fatally wounded. The seventh suspect was injured and taken to hospital under police guard. High-calibre rifles and handguns were recovered from both vehicles. It was discovered that one of the recovered vehicles was hijacked in the Durban Central area,” said Lt Col Thulani Zwane from provincial SAPS.
He said police also attempted to pull over the third vehicle that was travelling on N3 freeway near Marianhill. The occupants of the vehicle also opened fire on police officers.
“During the exchange of gunfire three suspects were fatally wounded. A fourth suspect was injured and taken to hospital for treatment under police guard. Rifles and handguns were also seized from the vehicle. All the recovered firearms will be subjected to ballistic tests to establish if they were used in any other crimes in the country,” said Zwane.
Cases of attempted murder as well as possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition were opened for further investigation. Inquest dockets were also opened regarding the death of the suspects.