Three suspected robbers were shot dead and one arrested in a shootout with police after a burglary at a business premises in Mhluzi in Mpumalanga in the early hours of Friday‚ police said.
Three unlicensed firearms and two vehicles were also recovered by police in the operation.
Police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said that members of the SAPS Crime Intelligence division were conducting a crime intelligence operation to follow up on information about suspects that had plans to break into and rob business premises in Mhluzi‚ near Middelburg.
“The operation saw police being involved in a shootout with the suspects where three were fatally wounded‚ one was arrested‚ and three unlicensed firearms (two rifles and a pistol) as well as two vehicles were recovered‚” Muridili said.
She said that when the police team had arrived‚ they discovered that a safe inside one of the premises had already been blown up.
“The suspects then allegedly started shooting their way out of the situation. The police returned fire but the suspects fled the scene with undisclosed amount of money in three vehicles.
“A high-speed chase and exchange of fire with the suspects while police were in pursuit of the vehicles resulted in two of the suspects’ vehicles coming to a halt‚ one as a result of all three occupants being fatally wounded during the shootout and the driver of the other vehicle lost control. Four occupants from that vehicle fled on foot.
“The police chased after the suspects with the support of the SAPS K9 Unit and managed to arrest one suspect. A manhunt for the remaining suspects is under way while the arrested suspect‚ aged 28‚ is currently being linked to other serious and violent crimes‚” Muridili said.