Cop killed, another injured in ambush during armed robbery in Mpumalanga

21 August 2023 - 09:30
By Khanyisile Ngcobo
A police officer has died while responding to an armed robbery in Masoyi. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF A police officer has died while responding to an armed robbery in Masoyi. Stock photo.

A police officer has died and another was injured after they were ambushed while responding to an armed robbery in Mpumalanga on Monday.

The incident happened in Masoyi at around 12.30am.

Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Capt Dineo Sekgotodi initially said: “Two police officers were attending to an armed robbery when they were ambushed. The two were shot at. One succumbed to injuries and the other was taken to hospital.”

Police spokesperson Brig Selvy Mohlala shared more details on the matter, including the name of the gunned down officer.

Sgt Vusi Elvis Siwela, 38, and his colleague, who police did not name, were responding to a call about a robbery at Chochocho supermarket when they came under attack.

They were the only two officers to respond to the incident.

“After obtaining information about the burglary, the two members rushed to the scene but were confronted with a hail of bullets from the armed suspects. It was during this time when the two members were shot and Sgt Siwela succumbed to gunshot wounds. His colleague sustained some injuries,” Mohlala said.

“It was later established that the suspects gained entry to the supermarket after detonating explosives on its doors. The suspects are said to have stolen an undisclosed amount of cash as well as some cigarettes.”

His colleague was rushed to hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds.

Mohlala confirmed that Siwela was stationed at Masoyi visible policing unit.

Mpumalanga top cop Lt-Gen Semakaleng Manamela expressed concern over the latest incident as she sent her condolences to Siwela's family.

“The public should remember that these members are assigned to assist them. The killing of police officials and other law enforcement agencies undermines the efforts by the state to prevent, combat and investigate crime,” she said.

Siwela's death comes days after two Cape Town police officers were injured by gangsters in a shoot-out reportedly sparked by an argument over confiscated alcohol.

On Friday the deaths of police officers came under the spotlight during the release of the first quarter crime statistics.

Police top brass said 31 officers were murdered in the first quarter of the 2023-2024 financial year from April to June. This is up from 18 murders during the same period in 2022. Ten police officers were killed while on duty and 21 were killed off-duty.