Five armed men were killed by police following a shootout with officers in Mount Frere, Eastern Cape police said on Thursday.
In a statement, police spokesman Mzukizi Fatyela said police officers attached to the public order policing (POP) unit received a tip-off about suspects on their way to commit an armed robbery in Tabankulu, Mount Frere on Wednesday afternoon.
“POP members spotted the vehicle with five occupants on the way to Tabankulu. When the suspects noticed that they were being followed they started shooting at the police members who returned fire,” said Fatyela.
“One SAPS member was shot in the chest but was saved by the bullet-proof vest he was wearing. Five suspects, aged between 25 and 30, were fatally wounded.”
Six firearms, including assault rifles, and more than 1 000 rounds of ammunition were recovered.
The matter has been handed to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for investigation.
Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner, Lt General Liziwe Ntshinga, said: “The police in the Province are committed in clamping down on crime and criminal activities. SAPS members in the rural areas are evenly vigilant to combat crime and will continue to be visible and maintain a zero tolerance approach in their policing areas.”
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