Cops clip reign of terror

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police have arrested a suspect in connection with a reign of terror unleashed by armed robbers against members of the Lowveld community.

The arrest brings to five the number of suspects arrested concerning the crime that left a doctor, two cops and the general public, victims and fearing for their lives.

Police said the 34-year-old man was arrested in the Masoyi area near Hazyview and was found in possession of two firearms - a 9mm and 7.65 pistol.

"The serial numbers of both pistols had been filed off and we are sending them for ballistic tests to establish other places where they might have been used to commit crimes," said Mpumalanga provincial police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi yesterday.

The suspect joined the other three accomplices who were arrested last week at Rockysdrift, near White River, for attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition as well as armed robbery. The fourth suspect is recuperating in hospital and is under police guard. He was shot during his arrest

Hlathi told Sowetan that the latest suspect would also face two additional charges - rape in Hazyview and another attempted murder in Bushbuckridge.

The other three, Mxolisi Masukane, 25, Simon Ndala, 32, and Thulani Khoza, 35, briefly appeared before the White River magistrates' court on Monday.

They were not asked to plead and were remanded in custody pending their next court appearance on September 26.

Hlathi said the suspects were part of a group that attacked police Inspector Mark Kaufman while he was parking in Hazyview in March.

"The suspects shot the inspector on his right arm with a shotgun and sped off in his car, leaving him for dead on the scene," said Hlathi.