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Uncles and cousins arrested for fatal attack on Free State police

Four people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of two police officers in North West on Saturday. Stock image.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of two police officers in North West on Saturday. Stock image.
Image: 123rf.com Bjoern Wylezich

Police have arrested four people for the shooting of two police officers in Orkney in North West.

All four are members of the same family.

Brig Vish Naidoo said the four “are uncles and cousins to each other”.

They allegedly gunned down 41-year-old sergeant Lloyd Poonyane and wounded 45-year-old Sergeant Lydia Tladi on Saturday night. Poonyane and Tladi were based in Vierfontein in Free State.

“On Saturday, the two officers were performing crime prevention duties and attending to complaints in the Vierfontien area. They were travelling in a SAPS branded state vehicle when they spotted a Ford Bantam bakkie,” said Naidoo.

They followed the bakkie all the way out of Vierfontein into Orkney.

“The sergeants approached the Bantam bakkie on foot after the driver brought it to a halt at a stop sign. The occupants of the said vehicle also got out of their vehicle and denied the police the opportunity to search their vehicle.

"An argument ensued, resulting in the suspects allegedly shooting both SAPS members. Sergeant Poonyane was killed after he sustained a gunshot wound to his chest and Sergeant Tladi was wounded in her leg,” said Naidoo.

The suspects fled with the officers’ guns.

National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole ordered the investigation team to leave no stone unturned in their probe.

Their investigations yielded results quickly as two suspects were arrested on Sunday.

The first suspect was arrested in Soweto.

“A 38-year-old man was arrested and a Ford Bantam fitting the description of the one used on Saturday night as well a 7.65 pistol with three live rounds of ammunition were recovered,” said Naidoo.

Further investigations led the police to Secunda.

“They arrested a second suspect aged 25. The investigation team recovered three 9mm pistols and more than 50 live 9mm rounds as well as six cellphones from this suspect. One of the pistols was reported stolen in Cleveland in June 2010. The serial numbers of the other two handguns were erased. All the firearms will be sent for ballistic testing to establish if they were used in the commission of any crimes,” Naidoo said.

On Tuesday, police said they had made two further arrests in Soweto on Monday.

“The suspects are 37 and 29. The latter was found in possession of a 9mm pistol with the serial number filed off. The said firearm is believed to have been one of the firearms taken from the deceased police officer, Sgt Poonyane,” said Naidoo.

The four will all appear in the Orkney magistrate’s court on Thursday.