One police officer was wounded and three armed cash-in-transit (CIT) suspects were shot dead after a shootout with ensued in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga on Monday morning, said police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo.
An intelligence-driven operation received a report of a CIT heist in progress at a Post Office, which led to police catching the robbers as they were offloading money from a van outside.
The robbers held security guards at gunpoint and a high-speed chase ensued, followed by a shootout between the suspects and police.
Three of the suspects were shot and killed, while another two were wounded and transported to a nearby health facility.
One police officer sustained a gunshot wound and is currently receiving medical treatment.
An unknown number of suspects fled the scene in a Toyota Hilux and a silver Mercedes Benz, which was hijacked by motorists. The Hilux was later found abandoned near Hazyview.
Police were also able to recover some of the stolen money, two pistols and three vehicles – the Hilux, a Ford Ranger, and Toyota Fortuna – all used by the suspects, and were fitted with false number plates.
The health department has been notified to be on the lookout for gunshot victims, as bloodstains were found inside the hijacked Toyota Hilux.
SAPS National Commissioner General Khehla Sitole wished the officer a speedy recovery and thanked the police teams for their swift action.
General Sitole added that a 72-hour activation plan was in place to arrest the remaining suspects.
He also called on communities to assist police in the investigation.
“Members of the public are further forewarned that harbouring criminals is a criminal offence, hence, if found hiding or assisting these suspects in any way, they too would be guilty of a crime,” he said.
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call SAPS’ Crime Stop number no 0860 10111, which they can do anonymously.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)