Policemen under fire

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police are investigating a case of murder after one of their members was found dead with a bullet wound to the stomach on Saturday night.

The body of Detective Sergeant Justice Aphane, who was attached to Siyabuswa police station, was found in the street next to his car in Kgamokeletsane Section in Siyabuswa.

"His cellphone and wallet containing R350 cash were found next to his body. His service pistol was recovered under the driver's seat of his car," said police spokesman Superintendent Abie Khoabane yesterday.

Meanwhile, three policemen were injured when their police vehicle overturned after the occupants of an unidentified vehicle opened fire on them from behind.

Khoabane said the policemen were on patrol when they spotted a suspected stolen red VW Jetta. They tried to stop the vehicle, but it sped off.

The police gave chase. While this was happening, another vehicle came from behind the police vehicle and the occupants started firing at the policemen.

Student Constable Thabiso Lephoto, 25, was shot in the right hand.

"Lephoto was driving the police vehicle. He lost control and the vehicle overturned. The vehicle then rolled twice. The other two policemen who were in the vehicle with Lephoto sustained minor injuries from this accident," said Khoabane.

The suspects approached the police vehicle. The policemen jumped into a nearby dam and hid from the gunmen.

"The suspects looked for the cops without success. They finally drove away from the scene," said Khoabane.

He said the policemen managed to walk for about 10km along the Volksrust road to the police station and were then taken to hospital.

"Sergeant Lucky Dube, 36, and reservist Alfred Nyembe, 27, received medical treatment for minor injuries," he added.

Police later established that their vehicle had six bullet holes. No one has been arrested. Police investigations are continuing.