Police are questioning a group of six men suspected to be involved in illegal mining and gangsterism in Ekurhuleni areas of Benoni, Springs and Actonville. They were surrounded by the police in an open field in Actonville as they were shooting at each other and were arrested.
Police seized five unlicensed firearms including a revolver and four pistols. Further investigations are being conducted as the gangs might have been responsible for several murders of illegal miners and house robberies in these areas.
The arrest and seizure came after police responded to a complaint of shooting between two rival groups known as Zama Zama in the vicinity of Dube Street in Actonville yesterday afternoon. One illegal miner had already been injured while police confronted the group. He was taken to the Far East Rand hospital under police guard.
As police surrounded them, five handguns used during the gun battle were seized. Charges of attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and illegal mining are being investigated. They are due to appear at the Benoni Magistrate Court on 10 January 2019.
As police continue to deal with illegal mining, it is believed that the firearms confiscated are used by the rival gangs to attack each other. In January 2018, the bodies of suspected illegal miners were found dumped in an open veld in Benoni. They were all shot and killed. Police are still continuing with investigation and the firearms seized this week will be taken for forensic examination to determine if they may be linked to the murders.
All the arrested suspects are foreign nationals.
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