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Gunmen shoot dead constable, use police van in brazen robbery

The suspects used a police van to rob a shop.
The suspects used a police van to rob a shop.
Image: Reuben Goldberg

A manhunt is under way for four men who, pretending to seek help, shot dead a constable in his police van and then used it to rob a shop in Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape.

Two constables, responding to a complaint at Zindidi location just before midnight on Tuesday, were approached by people “under the pretext that they were seeking help”.

“Without any warning, one of the suspects shot the driver, killing him instantly,” said national police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo.

“The second police member was forced to carry the deceased member and, together with the complainant, they were all locked in the back of the police van.

“One of the suspects drove the police vehicle to a nearby shop, where they ordered security to open the gate. They then went up to the shop-owner's house and robbed him of an undisclosed amount of money and alcohol, and fled in the owner's Nissan Navara, leaving the surviving member and the complainant locked in the police vehicle,” he said.

The stolen vehicle was later found abandoned near Mqanduli.  

The suspects escaped with a state-owned 9mm pistol, several rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and cellphones carried by both constables.

National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole ordered an immediate manhunt for the suspects.  

“I have tasked the provincial commissioner in the Eastern Cape to mobilise the 72-hour activation plan, which entails the mobilisation of critical resources as an effort to ensure that information, intelligence and evidence to successfully trace the suspects is not lost,” he said.

“We will not rest until these suspects are found and brought to book for this shocking and callous murder,” added Sitole.

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