Police constable killed in gun battle with 'hijackers' in Mpumalanga
A police constable was shot dead after a car chase with suspected hijackers in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga, at the weekend.
National police spokesman Brig Vishnu Naidoo said Thabo Mdluli was the second police officer killed over the weekend following the death of a constable at KwaNyuswa in Hillcrest, Durban.
Mdluli died after he and two colleagues, a sergeant and another constable, came across a parked car during patrol duties in Kwaggafontein.
“While driving on the R573 in Vlaklaagte, they came across a Toyota Corolla on the side of the road with the hazard lights flashing.
“When the three members approached the Corolla, it sped off. The policemen followed the car, resulting in a high speed chase for a few kilometres until it stopped,” said Naidoo.
He said one of the suspects alighted from the car and opened fire.
“The police returned fire, but Mdluli was hit. While the two uninjured members were attending to Mdluli, the suspects fled the scene on foot.”
Naidoo said the remaining occupant in the Toyota Corolla told police the suspects who fled the scene were holding him hostage after they had hijacked his vehicle.
“He alleged that three suspects in a white sedan with a blue light had hijacked him."
“The sedan left as soon as they hijacked him. However, before the suspects could drive off with him in the car, the three police officers arrived.”
The province has mobilised resources to apprehend the culprits.
Naidoo said: “The members who escaped the attack have been afforded an initial debriefing, as prescribed by employee health and wellness guidelines. The family of the deceased member will be afforded the necessary bereavement support.”
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole called for speedy arrests.
"We need to do everything possible to find these people masquerading as police officers and roaming around hijacking unsuspecting law abiding citizens.
“These suspects must be arrested and made to face the full might of the law, both for the killing of our colleague and the hijacking,” said Sitole.