Wanted thug killed himself, say police

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

A wanted criminal linked to the murder of a police officer - and who harassed the community around the province - has committed suicide to avoid jail.

It is alleged that Maano Matandari's body was found in a house in Madabani, outside Louis Trichardt, after he shot himself when police ordered him to surrender.

Matandari was wanted in connection with a spate of crimes committed in Makhado, Mokopane, Giyani, Thohoyandou and Bandelierskop.

After he confessed to certain crimes, the police said, Matandari was taken to point out the crime scenes.

He disarmed a police officer, shot one of them dead and wounded two others.

Matandari allegedly shot dead Constable Dovhani Bokwe and wounded Captain Shumani Raphulu and Constable Nthangeni.

Police said on Thursday they were tipped off about Matandari's whereabouts and surrounded the house. They ordered him to turn himself in but he allegedly refused until they heard a gunshot.

Tshilwavhusiku police station Commissioner Alfred Shirinda confirmed that Matandari had killed himself with the gun he wrested from the policeman he killed last week.

"We ordered him to surrender, and waited," Shirinda said. "We heard a gunshot and when we went into the house we found him dead with a gun in his hand."