Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Nomthetheleli Mene expressed her appreciation to a multi-disciplinary team who immediately rallied together following an attack and robbery of two police Sergeants in Maluti late last night, 09 September 2023.
It is alleged that at about 23:45, the two crime prevention members were conducting compliance inspection at a tavern in Sibi in Diping location in Maluti when they were attacked by the patrons who didn’t want to the tavern to close. Members made a hasty retreat to request for back-up when they were attacked at their vehicle and their firearms, a 9mm pistol and an R5 rifle were stolen. They were pelted with stones and the vehicle’s window and windscreen were damaged.
Immediate response to back-up was mobilised and a task team comprising of SAPS Maluti Vispol, detectives, Maluti K9 unit, the Community Policing Forum and Community in Blue reacted. The two members aged 39 and 41-year-old were found injured, about a kilometre from the tavern. They sustained head injuries and one police official also dislocated his shoulder. They were admitted in hospital.
An intense disruptive search of the area was conducted by the team. One suspect aged 23-year-old was arrested by the K9 unit members after their dog sniffed him out as he retreated and hid in the mountain. The police officer’s 9mm pistol was recovered.
A second suspect aged 27 was arrested as he was walking on the road. He was found in possession of an unlicensed revolver and ammunition.
With the assistance of the CPF, a pistol was also recovered at a house in the area. A 23-year-old was arrested on a charge of illegal possession of firearm as well as for the attack on police, robbery and malicious damage to property.
A fourth suspect aged 27-year-old was arrested after he went to the police station at about 03:00 and fabricated a story of seeing someone going into the cemetery with something but when the man came out, he was empty handed. His version was rejected when one of the suspect’s phoned him while he was still at the station. The R5 rifle was recovered in the graveyard and the man arrested.
All of the above suspects are detained on charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
A further three suspects, aged between 23 and 34-year-old are detained on charges of attack on police, robbery and malicious damage to property. The two confiscated firearms will be sent to ballistics for analysis.
Lt Gen Mene stated that, ‘it was through the speedy and relentless effort of the task team that all seven suspects have been apprehended. The firearms taken from our members as well as the two other firearms have been successfully recovered, ensuring that these dangerous weapons will not be used against our community. The unwavering commitment, support and assistance from the CPF and Community in blue, is invaluable. It is through the collaboration between law enforcement and the community that we can achieve safer neighbourhoods for all. To those who dare to attack our men and women in blue, we issue a stern warning that we will not rest until justice is served. Such actions will be met with the full might of the law, and those responsible will face severe consequences. Let this serve as a reminder that our commitment to ensuring law and order is unwavering, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of our communities. Our officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our community, and this attack on them will not be tolerated. We wish our members a speedy recovery.’
Content retrieved from: https://www.saps.gov.za/newsroom/msspeechdetail.php?nid=48326.