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Heist suspects claim cops assaulted them

The messy crime scene on Atlas road in Boksburg where cash vans were bombed.
The messy crime scene on Atlas road in Boksburg where cash vans were bombed.

Five men who allegedly robbed two cash-in-transit vans in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, last week have claimed they were assaulted by police.

Paul Sibanda, 48, Thato Gaopantwe, 26, Sibusiso Khumalo, 34, Collen Hadebe, 42, and Thabo Molefe, 32, appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court yesterday.

Sibanda is a Zimbabwean national who lives in Yeoville, Gaopantwe lives in Bryanston, Molefe in Pretoria, Khumalo in Braamfischerville, Soweto, while Hadebe resides in Orlando West in Soweto.

The five men stand accused of attempted murder, malicious damage to property, possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Through their lawyers, the group was granted their wish to be held at the Boksburg Prison instead of Johannesburg holding cells.

The group was arrested at the George Goch Hostel on Thursday following a high-speed chase and shootout with police.

Eight people, including bystanders, were injured during the robbery on Atlas Road.

Hawks spokeswoman Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said they were following leads for the arrests of the suspects who got away.

Mulamu said two cash-in-transit vehicles were en route from a depot to a bank in Kempton Park when they were ambushed by about four vehicles with a group of heavily armed occupants.

A shootout ensued between the criminals and security guards where the guards were injured and disarmed.

The trucks were hit with explosives and an undisclosed amount of money was taken.

Mulamu said police who responded to the scene gave chase with the help of an SAPS chopper.

When the group were cornered, police retrieved arms, including an AK47 rifle.

The case was postponed to next week.

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