Residents can now sleep after police close net on armed robbers

POLICE detectives are happy after closing the net on a gang of armed robbers who have been terrorising residents of Umkhunya village at Dududu on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

The residents say they can sleep at night now that their "terrorisers" are in police cells.

Four members of the six-member gang were arrested on Sunday. They appeared in court late on Monday.

The men have been linked to several housebreakings and armed robberies.

Residents, especially the elderly, were the victims.

"We have been held hostage in our homes and were too afraid to report them to the police. If you speak out you are targeted," said one pensioner.

Muziwezinsizwa Mbhele, 21, Sipho Madiba, 23, and Thulakoni Mbhele, 24, were arrested and appeared in the Sawoti magistrate's court on charges of armed robbery and housebreaking. The case was postponed to September 17 for bail applications.

Police spokesperson Vincent Pandarum said Constable Sandile Mpanza had been following the gang for a long time.

"Mpanza followed up on information and located a woman with a cellphone that had allegedly been stolen during one of the robberies.

"The woman indicated that she bought the cellphone for R200 from a relative," he said.

A fourth member of the gang was arrested on Monday in Jolivet and police recovered four more cellphones. He is expected to appear in court tomorrow. Police are confident that they will arrest the two remaining gang members.