Six gunmen die after shooting at police

Six suspects have been killed in a gun battle with police. Picture: SAPS

Six suspects have been killed in a gun battle with police. Picture: SAPS

Published May 17, 2024


Durban — Police should be lauded for tackling crime head-on as long as they act within the bounds of the law. This was the view of Dr Johan Burger, a crime analyst from the Institute for Security Studies.

He was reacting to two incidents where KwaZulu-Natal police gunned down six armed suspects during shoot-outs on Thursday. Four of the suspects were wanted for cash-in-transit (CIT) heists.

Burger said that if the police warned the suspects before pulling the trigger and the suspects ignored the warnings, then the police should be praised for fighting crime.

He added: “Such incidents do inspire confidence in police as many people, including criminals, would often accuse them of being incompetent.”

Burger said the (CIT) criminals were well-trained, organised, and armed.

However, KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said if police were effective they would be protecting communities.

She took aim at the police crime intelligence, saying if it were competent the police would find alternative ways of dealing with criminals other than gunning them down during confrontations.

“When they have to kill people like this, it just shows how bad it is. I don’t know if they are even trained to shoot, because the training of the police is bad and riddled with corruption,” she said.

KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the four men suspected to be behind a string of CIT robberies were fatally wounded in a shoot-out. Police said they acted on the information from their intelligence unit, and police units comprising members from the Hawks, K9, Tactical Response Team (TRT) and Magma Security pounced on a house at KwaXimba village near Camperdown, west of Durban, in the early hours of on Thursday.

Naicker said that when police made themselves known outside the house, the suspects responded with gunfire.

According to police, the men were found in a room at about 2am, although they were renting two rooms. Three firearms were found after the shoot-out.

KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said police had been on the heels of the suspects since last year, after a spate of cash heists in King Cetshwayo (Empangeni and Richards Bay) and Harry Gwala (Kokstad and Ixopo) districts.

He said the four suspects were from Empangeni. Mkhwanazi said the owner of the house did not know who “these guys were” except that they were tenants.

In another incident, on Thursday, police officers from the National Intervention Unit cornered two suspects wanted for intimidation, extortion, and other violent crimes in Klaarwater near Mariannhill, near Durban, police said.

Mkhwanazi said again when police pounced on the suspects at their hideout at the Klaarwater Hostel, the suspects opened fire on the police officers. He said that two of the suspects were fatally wounded in the shootout.

Mkhwanazi said they had been well-known criminals who extorted money from local businesses, especially tuck shops owned by foreigners in townships around eThekwini.

He said the criminals were taking advantage of the fact that foreigners were not banking their cash and keeping it with them in the tuck shops.

“Police in KwaZulu-Natal remain committed to enforcing the law. Suspects who challenge the authority of the state by shooting at police officers will be met with the force proportional to their actions,” a police statement read.

Last month, the Mariannhill area in Durban was once again under the spotlight for its high rate of crime after a shoot-out with police there left nine suspects fatally wounded.

The suspects killed during the shootout in Desai were described as a menace to society.

During his campaign trail in Inanda, north of Durban, EFF leader Julius Malema said: “There is a lot of crime here (KZN), but what gives me hope is the police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, who is dealing with criminals properly.”

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