Man found with AK-47 rounds in court after taxi massacre

Man found with AK-47 rounds in court after taxi massacre.
Man found with AK-47 rounds in court after taxi massacre.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

A man with alleged links to the Colenso taxi massacre which claimed 12 lives at the weekend stood with his head bowed in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Sydenham man‚ whom magistrate Mahomed Motala ordered could not be named or photographed‚ has been charged for the alleged illegal possession of 73 rounds of AK-47 ammunition. He was arrested on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Calvin Govender said the state would allege that the man had ties to the weekend massacre. “This is one of the men linked to the Colenso taxi shooting and as such we would request that his photograph or name not be published while the investigation continues‚” he said.

Motala ordered that the man be remanded in custody at the Sydenham police station while the investigation continues. He will appear in court again on August 1.

Gunmen opened fire on a minibus taxi while it travelled on the R74 between the towns of Colenso and Weenen on Saturday. The taxi‚ ferrying drivers from the Ivory Park Taxi Association‚ had been peppered by automatic gunfire as it returned from a funeral at Ematimatolo in central KwaZulu-Natal.

Crime scene technicians who examined the vehicle recorded that more than 200 rounds had passed through the minibus. Eleven people died at the scene and another died later later in hospital. Ten of those killed were taxi drivers from the Ivory Park Taxi Association in Midrand‚ Gauteng.

National police commissioner general Khehla Sitole‚ in response to the massacre‚ activated specialised units to track down and arrest the gunmen‚ giving them a deadline of 72 hours to do so. His call to action came as transport minister Blade Nzimande condemned what he described as the "senseless killing" of the taxi drivers.

On Wednesday‚ however‚ police spokesperson brigadier Vish Naidoo said that no arrests had been made.

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