Two more cops attacked in Mpumalanga as police come under fire

29 July 2021 - 19:44 By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Four suspects are wanted in connection with the hijacking and shooting of police officers in two separate incidents. File photo.
Four suspects are wanted in connection with the hijacking and shooting of police officers in two separate incidents. File photo.
Image: Gareth Wilson

Mpumalanga police are on the hunt for four men in connection with two hijacking and shooting incidents involving two police officers this week.

The alarming incidents happened on Tuesday in Acornhoek and Carolina respectively, according to Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi.

In the first incident, a constable based at Bushbuckridge police station was heading home to prepare for his night shift when a white Toyota Tazz without a registration number abruptly stopped in front of him.

“Three suspects, armed with a firearm, got out of their car and went straight to him. They pointed the firearm at him, dragged him out of his car and shot him on his lower body before putting him inside the boot of his car.

“The suspects drove with him and later stopped at Shatale village where they dropped him off on the street. They drove away in his private car which was later found left abandoned at Matsikitsane area in the bushes,” Hlathi told TimesLIVE.

The victim managed to get help from community members and is in hospital.

No arrest has been made.

In the second incident, two suspects appeared in the Carolina magistrate's court on Wednesday, a day after they were arrested in connection with the alleged hijacking of an off-duty officer. 

“Reports indicate that the two were among a group of three armed men who were allegedly involved in a car hijacking incident at Balfour where they attacked an off-duty officer working at Standerton.

“The member was [allegedly] driving in his private vehicle ... near the Balfour/Grootvlei intersection ... [when] three heavily armed men appeared in front of his vehicle and pointed firearms at him.

“They then held him hostage and robbed him of his service firearm with ammunition as well as an undisclosed amount of cash. They assaulted him and forced him to lie down on the back seat of his vehicle,” Hlathi explained.

The suspects allegedly robbed the officer of his bank cards, ID document and other belongings before dropping him off next to the road near Vosloorus.

The suspects reportedly removed the number plates from the officer's car and replaced them with false ones.

“Later, the vehicle was spotted being used by the suspects to tow a silver grey Ford Fiesta sedan which seemed to have had a breakdown. Upon noticing security officers, one suspect escaped while the [remaining] two were cornered [and arrested].

The latest attacks come as the SAPS reels from the loss of two of its members, whose charred remains were discovered in a police van in Mosita, a day after they went missing while out on patrol in their precinct. 

Five suspects have since been arrested in connection with their murders and will appear in the Itsoseng magistrate's court on Friday.