police hit suspect smuggler

Given Mahlalela

Given Mahlalela

A 30-year-old man is fighting for his life in hospital after he was shot by police who were chasing him.

The shootout took place at Steenbok Road near Komatipoort, Mpumalanga, on Monday night after police became suspicious of the bakkie he was driving.

Police said the man was driving a grey Mitsubishi bakkie fitted with false number plates.

Police returned the suspect's fire after he had shot at them and injured him in the foot.

"We were doing our daily rounds when we spotted the bakkie with the false registration plates.

"We received a call from our informants notifying us about the stolen vehicle which was to be smuggled into Mozambique," said Tonga police spokesman Constable Mzwandile Nyambi.

The man is expected to appear in court as soon as he is discharged from hospital.

Meanwhile, Tonga police also discovered a Toyota Fortuner vehicle, which was dumped in a desolate area at the remote village of Steenbok on the same night.

Nyambi told Sowetan that the suspect might be involved in the theft of the Toyota Fortuner.

"The Toyota Fortuner is said to have been stolen at Sabie near White River and cases of car hijacking and armed robberies have been opened.

"We will leave no stone unturned until we arrest and jail those who use our area as a den for car smugglers," Nyambi said.

Police are also looking for suspects who robbed, assaulted and hijacked a Pakistani businessman, Abdul Waheed, 34.

They said Waheed was robbed of his Toyota Hilux on Sunday morning at Magogeni Trust near Malelane.

The bakkie was later recovered at Block B near Tonga.

Waheed was admitted to Tonga Hospital with minor injuries and received trauma counselling.