Roadworks link to ATM blasts

Riot Hlatshwayo

The arrest of three men has prompted police to believe that the explosives used to bomb automatic teller machines (ATMs) are illegally sourced from construction workers.

They are now investigating if the supply of material for more blasts in the Lowveld is linked to the workers building a road between Barberton and Nelspruit.

The suspects were found in possession of four detonator explosives while sitting in a car next to an ATM at a garage in KaNyamazane township near Nelspruit last week.

Spokesman for the Mpumalanga organised crime prevention unit Captain Leonard Hlathi told Sowetan that the arrest of the three men, aged between 21 and 30, was a breakthrough.

"Their arrest led to further investigations that made us believe that the explosives were found from workers at the road construction between Barberton and Nelspruit," Hlathi said.

The suspects were waiting in a blue Volkswagen Citi Golf next to an ATM at about 9.30pm on Thursday when the police pounced.

The police had received information about their plan to bomb the FNB ATM and then monitored their movements.

"We saw the suspects waiting in the car next to their intended target and immediately pounced on them. We searched them and found four detonator explosives in their possession.

"We are going to verify if these suspects could have been involved in other ATM bombings around the Lowveld or the whole province."

Hlathi has asked that anyone with information that might help police investigations to please call their nearest police station or Senior Superintendent Botsotso Moukangwe on 082- 556-5752.

He said the suspects would appear in the KaBokweni magistrate's court today.