The SAPS management in the Eastern Cape has expressed shock at the unwarranted attack on SAPS members during a business robbery which took place in Idutywa on Monday 31 May 2021.
Reports indicate that in the early hours of the morning on Monday 31 May 2021 at about 02:17, SAPS members were busy patrolling on the N2 Idutywa national road when they received a call about a business robbery that was in progress. It is alleged that as members drove towards a filling station in response to the call, they were met with a hailstorm of bullets from the suspects who shot at them.
As they tried to drive past the garage, shots continued to be fired towards their direction. One of the two members in the vehicle was shot on the upper body and suffered serious injuries.
Subsequently, the member was rushed to a nearby hospital for medical assistance as he was described as being in a critical condition.
At the crime scene in Idutywa police found live ammunition and empty cartridges. The suspects escaped towards the direction of Mthatha in different vehicles. Police reinforcement gave chase and eight suspects were later arrested near Tsolo after a shootout with the police which left one of the suspects injured. He was taken to hospital to receive medical attention whilst the other five (5) suspects aged between 35 and 45 were arrested and detained in police cells in Tsolo.
During the operation police recovered three suspected stolen motor vehicles, a White Nissan bakkie NP300, Grey Chevrolet and brown Toyota Avanza, one firearm pistol and ammunition, heavy duty crowbars, safe and an undisclosed amount of money.
Cases of attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of ammunition, possession of stolen vehicles, possession of stolen property and business robbery have been registered for investigation. The suspects are expected to appear in the Tsolo and Idutywa magistrate court once they are charged. Investigation continues.
The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga has strongly condemned the ruthless attack on the SAPS members whilst performing their duties. General Ntshinga wished the injured member a speedy recovery in hospital, whilst ordering counselling services for other members who were involved in the operation that led to the swift arrest of the suspects.
Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the remaining two suspects, is requested to make contact with Idutywa and Tsolo Police Stations or call the Crime Stop number 08600 10111.