Alleged cop killers arrested in Eastern Cape

Less than three days after gunmen robbed and killed a police constable in Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape, four men have been arrested.
Less than three days after gunmen robbed and killed a police constable in Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape, four men have been arrested.
Image: Reuben Goldberg

Less than three days after gunmen robbed and killed a police constable in Coffee Bay, a coastal town in the Eastern Cape, four men have been arrested.

The group were apprehended after constables Lonwaba Soga, 26, and Siyabonga Nani were approached by four men under the pretext of seeking help when they were called to the Zindidi location shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

Two of the four men approached the police vehicle on the driver's side while the other two approached the vehicle from the passenger’s side.

“One of the suspects shot Constable Soga, ending his young life instantly. The suspects’ tyranny didn't end there. They forced Constable Nani to carry the deceased member, together with the complainant who called the police, and they were all locked in the back of the police van. Thereafter the suspects proceeded to rob a local shop owner,” said national spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.

The suspects, aged between 22 and 37, then allegedly proceeded to rob a nearby shop with the police van. 

On arrival, they demanded R3,000, liquor and tobacco, and then fled in the owner's Nissan Navara, leaving Nani and the complainant locked in the rear of the police vehicle, with Soga's body still inside.

The Navara was later found abandoned.

Naidoo said the gang's run ended when members of Crime Intelligence, the Hawks and the SAPS National Intervention Unit tracked them down to Mqanduli - near to where the Navara was found abandoned - and Ngangelizwe during the early hours of Friday.

“The suspects were found in possession of six 9mm pistols, including the firearm which was being used by Constable Soga. Several rounds [of ammunition], one police reflector jacket, one police cap and two police bulletproof vests were seized from the scene,” said Naidoo.

National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole welcomed the speedy arrest of the suspects and praised the officers for their determination in ensuring the suspects were caught.  

"I am satisfied from the brief I received that we have the right people to answer to Constable Soga's murder and subsequent robbery.

"Our members have heeded my call of not resting until these suspects are found, which is indicative of the high level of resilience by our members to decisively deal with crime and criminals,” said Sitole.


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