At least nine people suspected of belonging to a gang that robs cash in transit vehicles were gunned down in a shootout with police in Sebokeng near South Africa’s city of Johannesburg.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said in a statement that police obtained information about the gang and tracked them to an address in Sebokeng, where a shootout ensued between the armed suspects and police on Thursday.
“A total of eight suspects were certified dead at the scene, while the ninth suspect died in hospital. Three others were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.” Mathe said.
Cash-in-transit robberies are common in South Africa, a country where 67 people are murdered every day, according to national crime statistics.
Police said they also recovered six rifles and six commercial explosives that were already assembled and ready to be detonated and four vehicles were seized.
Police Minister Gen. Bheki Cele said he is confident that the police are making serious inroads in the fight against serious and violent crime in the country.
“If they come hard on us, we came harder on them. It’s them and us on behalf of the community. We can’t co-govern, we can’t rule with criminals. We are asserting the authority of the state on behalf of our communities,” Cele said.
He said the police are on high alert across the region ahead of the busy Easter weekend.