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By unknown | Apr 14, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Police shot dead four suspects who were wanted for the murder of two officers who were killed after raiding an illegal shebeen in Bambayi.

Four firearms were recovered.

Nine other suspects have been arrested.

Residents of Bambayi, an informal settlement in Inanda, north of Durban, alerted top cops about officers taking bribes. They say criminals parade freely around the settlement where Constable Muntungani Xulu, 28, and Inspector Albert Gumede, 41, were ambushed.

The residents fear little will change because corrupt officers accept bribes from lawbreakers.

The two policemen were stopped at the weekend by two men who claimed they had been attacked in a shebeen.

But Director Phindile Radebe said the complainants were unable to identify their attackers.

"Police raided the shebeen and arrested a man for possession of dagga. The police were followed by a group of patrons as they made their way to the vehicle. They were shot at and one officer died on the scene. The other officer escaped and called for back-up.

"There was an exchange of gunfire between the patrons and the police, during which a second officer was shot dead.

"Nine people are being questioned about the incident," said Radebe.

Provincial Commissioner Hamilton Ngidi praised the officers who tracked down the alleged killers.

"I am glad that we acted swiftly as it sends out a clear message that we won't tolerate the killing of police officers. An attack on police officers is an attack on our democracy and our constitution and is unacceptable," he said.

The shebeen has been closed down and the owners have disappeared.

Themba Qwabe said the residents were worried about the police and thugs working together.

"Police accept bribes from criminals. We are trying to rid our area of crime, but at times police arrest us when we act against criminals," he said.

Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa visited the area on Sunday and said he was pleased with the community's involvement in the fight against crime.

"Police have good working relationships with communities in the area, which led to the arrest of the suspects.

"We are positive that those still at large will be brought to book soon," he said.


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