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Bloody end to Durban family gathering as soldiers‚ cop exchange fire

Bullets flew at a Durban family gathering.
Bullets flew at a Durban family gathering.

A family gathering on Durban's Bluff ended in a hail of gunfire at the weekend.

Three soldiers are under investigation after it is alleged the men‚ all armed with assault rifles‚ opened fire on an off-duty policeman and his family in the early hours of Sunday.

The officer‚ who was not injured‚ is understood to have returned fire.

Two women caught in the volley of rifle fire were shot in the face and critically wounded‚ while another man was shot in the calf and was in a serious condition.

Melani Simon‚ speaking to SowetanLIVE‚ said that her family had gathered to celebrate a 50th birthday.  

"When it was time for us to leave‚ one of our friends’ car key broke in the ignition‚ so we were asking anyone for help. These guys stopped and when we asked them if they had pliers‚ they started swearing at us‚" she said.

"A big misunderstanding followed. Then they went into their guesthouse and‚ minutes later‚ I just heard gunshots‚" Simon added. 

Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said the wounded were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Simon said the gun-wielding men had been identified as military personnel.

"My close friends were shot. One in the jaw and the other in the face. They are undergoing surgery today [Monday]‚" she said.

Police sources with knowledge of the incident said the SANDF personnel had returned to the guesthouse after the shooting.

The men were not in uniform at the time of the incident.

The police’s special task force was called in‚ only to be superseded by a military unit‚ which managed to draw the gunmen out and convince them to hand over their weapons.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said firearms were seized and police were investigating a case of attempted murder.

No arrests were made.

The 4Shore Guesthouse owner‚ who refused to give his name‚ would not comment.

Repeated efforts to contact the SANDF were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

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