cop shot dead IN hijackING

AN Mpumalanga policeman was shot dead by gunmen when he refused to hand over his car keys during a hijacking.

Constable Themba Shabangu, who was employed at the Nelspruit police station, was killed on Friday in front of his parents' house in Pienaar near KaNyamazane, Nelspruit.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said yesterday that Shabangu had parked his VW Polo outside the house when three armed men confronted him and demanded the keys to his car.

"In the ensuing scuffle three shots were fired by one of the suspects. Shabangu was fatally wounded and died on the scene," he said.

"After he was shot a white Ford Laser with registration number BGW 775 MP was seen leaving the scene at high speed," Hlathi said.

He said the crime prevention unit of KaNyamazane was informed. The unit spotted the vehicle a while later and stopped it.

"The police found two men in the car and on further investigation established that they were the ones who had shot Shabangu.

"It was also established that the same suspects had hijacked a motor vehicle in KaBokweni near White River last month," Hlathi said.

"We also believe that the suspects knew that Shabangu was a cop because one of them lives not far from his home."

Hlathi said the suspects confessed to killing Shabangu.

The police also established that the motive was to hijack Shabangu's vehicle.

One of the robbers said they shot him only because he resisted.

The police have asked a man known as Boet-Boet Nyalunga to contact them as soon as possible as he might be of help in the investigation into Shabangu's murder.

Anyone who knows Nyalunga's whereabouts is asked to contact Superintendent Tshepo Mokoena on 082-300-8315.