Silence on 11 dead robbers

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The police are keeping any further details about Tuesday's dramatic foiling of a cash-in-transit heist in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, close to their chests.

Eleven of the 12 robbers were killed in a daylight shootout with police when the robbers tried to hijack a Protea Coin security van in Maubane, near the Carousel Casino.

Unaware that police were lying in wait, the men opened fire at the security van.

The shootout then ensued.

Eight bodies were left sprawled in the street while two others were retrieved from a mealie field. A wounded one died after being airlifted to Pretoria Academic Hospital.

Police fired from two helicopters circling above the robbers and from several cars that had waited in ambush.

The other wounded robber was still in a critical condition in hospital yesterday. Police spokesman Director Phuti Setati said that it was premature for police to reveal details about the botched robbery.

He said police were still investigating if the cars used - a Volvo S40, a Nissan bakkie and a Mazda - were stolen.

Four AK-47s, a R5 rifle, a shotgun, five handguns and 10 cellphones were recovered.

Asked to describe how police cornered the men, Setati said: "We do not want to reveal our operations to criminals. Otherwise, we will be giving criminals a chance to learn from our operations."

Director Sally de Beer, spokesman for national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, said police were still investigating whether the 12 are part of a bigger gang. "We are still trying to find out who assisted them in planning the heist."