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A senior police detective was shot and killed while on duty in Umlazi, south of Durban.
Senior detective Sibusiso Manyoni, 50, was killed while at the scene of a conflict involving a woman and the family of her boyfriend in the Zimeleni informal settlement on Sunday night.
The woman had earlier opened a case of domestic violence against her boyfriend after he allegedly pointed a gun at her during a heated argument.
Local police arrested the boyfriend.
But the woman was later allegedly threatened by her boyfriend's family.
"Three men came and accused the woman for sending their brother to jail," an eyewitness said.
"She called the police because the attackers had a gun."
Manyoni responded to the call.
Witnesses said Manyoni confronted the suspects near a concrete fence. They are not sure what happened because a few minutes later they heard three gun shots.
When police reinforcements arrived, Manyoni was dead.
The shooting took place about two kilometres away from the Umlazi 17 men's hostel where the suspected killer lives.
A resident said the man who shot Manyoni was drunk and would not listen to his friends.
"The suspect missed the man who tried to calm him down. We are shocked about the incident. Manyoni is known to everyone in the area as a humble person. He would come by and talk to people and joke with us while visiting his friends."
Police spokesman Daniela Veldhuizen confirmed that Manyoni was responding to a complaint when he was gunned down.
"At this stage we are not sure about the exact details around the shooting. Police investigations continue," she said.