Five men nabbed with possible links to Melville New Year's shooting
Five men arrested for alleged involvement in a kidnapping syndicate have been tentatively linked to a fatal Melville drive-by shooting in the early hours of New Year's Day.
Two women were killed and six other patrons wounded when they were sprayed with bullets in the shooting.
Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said on Thursday evening that the five were arrested a predawn operation, when officers swooped on a house in Kliprivier, Johannesburg, where an alleged kidnapping syndicate was staying.
“The [police] team was following leads on the kidnapping of an Indian national, who was kidnapped earlier this month. This intelligence led the integrated multidisciplinary team to the Kliprivier house, where a total of five men, two of who are of foreign nationality, were arrested,” he said.
“Three of these men are likely to be charged with kidnapping, while the other two possibly for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
“In the meantime, we are also investigating the possibility that this group may also be linked to Melville drive-by shooting on New Year's Day this year.”
Foreign military uniform, and several firearms, including rifles and pistols — some of which were buried in the garden — were recovered.
The owner of the house is on the run and the kidnapped victim has not yet been found, said Naidoo.
National SAPS commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole praised the team for its hard work and perseverance.
“This is great work ... but the job is not done yet,” he said.
Sitole cited kidnapping and the proliferation of firearms and ammunition as one the priorities of the police.
“We must continue with our efforts to trace and arrest the owner of the house and anybody else linked to this group, but more importantly we must find and reunite the kidnapped victim safely with his family.”