Crack police squad and airwing now hunting police station attackers
National police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole has already assembled a top team of his best people to find the suspects who attacked the Engcobo police station between Umtata and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
Five police officials and an off-duty soldier were killed during the attack.
"I am appalled and deeply saddened by the cold and callous attack on our colleagues this morning‚" said General Sitole.
"I have activated a task team comprising of experienced detectives of the South African Police Service and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation to investigate this attack‚" said General Sitole.
This team will be supported by specialized medium to high risk teams with the added support of the Airwing.
"We will not rest until we have tracked down these heartless killers and bring them to book‚" Sitole vowed.
Describing the events as they unfolded‚ the police chief's spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement that an unknown group of armed suspects entered the police station in the early hours of this morning and without warning‚ randomly opened fire on the members on duty.
Three members were killed instantly in the Community Service Centre. An off-duty soldier was also shot dead as the suspects were fleeing.
The suspects made off with a police van‚ taking two other members. The bodies of both these members with gunshot wounds were later found along the roadside‚ six kilometers from the police station.
Brig Naidoo said: "According to preliminary investigations‚ it appears that members were shot execution style."
The national police commissioner has called on the community to assist with any information that could help identify and bring these perpetrators to book‚ "as this is a heartless attack on the State".
"While the motive for this attack is not clear yet‚ we have established that the suspects robbed an ATM a short distance away from the police station‚ stolen 10 firearms as well as a police van from the station."
Information can be communicated to the SAPS Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated in the strictest of confidence‚ the SAPS said.