PRETORIA - A police officer has been wounded and three suspects have been shot and killed as well as two other suspects wounded during a shootout between members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and a group of armed robbers in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga this morning.
During an intelligence driven operation, members from various disciplines of the South African Police Service responded to a cash-in-transit heist in progress at a Post Office in Bushbuckridge.
As the group of armed robbers were busy off-loading money from the CIT van outside the Post Office where they had held the security officers at gunpoint, the multidisciplinary SAPS team intercepted them leading to a high speed car chase. This led led to a shootout between the suspects and the police.
Three suspects were shot and killed, another two of the suspects who were shot and wounded have been transported to a nearby health facility under police guard.
An unknown number of suspects fled the scene in a Toyota Hilux and a silver Mercedes Benz after they forcefully stopped passer-by's and hijacked them. The Toyota Hilux was later recovered abandoned near Hazyview.
In the process, police managed to recover some of the stolen money, two pistols and three vehicles which include the hijacked Toyota Hilux, a Ford Ranger and Toyota Fortuna that were used by the suspects and were later found to be both fitted with false registration number plates.
It is unfortunate that during the shootout a member of the SAPS, sustained a gunshot wound. The member has been taken to the nearest medical facility where he is receiving medical treatment.
Police have also notified the health department to be on the lookout for a suspect or suspects with a gun-shot wound who could seek medical help as the hijacked Toyota Hilux was found with blood stains.
The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Khehla Sitole has wished the member in hospital a speedy recovery and thanked the teams for their bravery and swift action. He has also instructed the mobilization of the 72-Hour Activation Plan to apprehend the remaining suspects
General Sitole further called on communities to assist the work and investigation of the police into this matter. "Therefore, members of the public are further forewarned that harbouring criminals is a criminal offense hence if found hiding or assisting these suspects in any way, they too would be guilty of a crime concluded General Sitole
Members of the public are again reminded to call the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111 to report any information to authorities. The public is reminded that information and their identity will be treated with the strictest confidence. Callers may also remain anonymous.
Source: South African Police Service