Man killed as police clash with 'heavily armed criminal gang'
A 28-year-old man was killed during a shootout with police in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend, while another was arrested for the murder of a police officer.
The incident took place while police were conducting an operation in Nhlawe, Weenen.
"During the operation police officers confronted a heavily armed criminal gang," said police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker.
"The men resisted attempts to arrest them and a shootout ensued. A 28-year-old suspect was fatally wounded during the exchange of gunfire whilst a 21-year-old suspect was placed under arrest."
Police seized two AK47 rifles, an R5 rifle, an air gun and 101 rounds of ammunition during the operation.
"Initial investigations indicate that the arrested suspect is positively linked to a murder committed in Estcourt.
"It is alleged on May 11 2019 at 7.30am, an off-duty police officer, Const Nkosinathi Khumalo, 35, was shot and killed at Estcourt. He was dragged out of his vehicle and his killers fled with his car. Following the murder, the police officer’s car was recovered the following day in Nhlawe after a shootout between the suspects and police.
"The arrested suspect will appear at the Weenen Magistrate's Court on Monday," Naicker said.
KZN police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula commended the police for the breakthrough into Khumalo's murder.
“The arrest and recovery of these firearms are evident that police officers in this province are closing in on criminal gangs who commit serious crimes in the false belief that they can evade law enforcement. These types of operations are going to be intensified so that we break this vicious cycle of serious and violent crimes in KZN,” said Jula.