By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 22 February 2022 • 14:05
A mass shootout with a suspected gang of robbers in Johannesburg South Africa, has left eight dead and five police officers injured, two them critically.
The gang of some 25 were travelling in high powered stolen vehicles and were armed with automatic assault rifles, according to the police they also seemed to be in possession of large amount of ammunition.
The wild west style exchange of gunfire even saw the co-pilot of the police helicopter flown to the scene shot.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said on national television that: “We are dealing with heartless people who are willing to kill us.”
According to local news media the gang were heavily armed, mainly with AK6 or AK7, including double magazines. Firearms, explosives and petrol as well as stolen or stolen cars were seized at the crime scene.
Eight suspects were arrested, and nine others are still being sought. The shooting was preceded by a wild chase in the Rosettenville neighbourhood in the south of Johannesburg. According to the minister, the robbers had planned an attack on a money transporter.
The fact that criminals from neighbouring Zimbabwe and Botswana were also members of the gang fuelled a previously heated debate on the country’s social media about expelling foreigners.
South Africa has one of the worst crime statistics in the world. Cele announced on Friday when the crime statistics were presented that the police had registered a total of 6,859 murders between October and December 2021 alone, statistically speaking, more than 74 murders per day. Cele called for a further intensification of the fight against crime.
Whilst the crime statistics remain stubbornly high, the police have become far more adept at dealing with this kind of attempted robbery. However the size of the gang of robbers and the arsenal of weapons at their disposal will have taken police by surprise resulting in the mass shootout and the high number of dead.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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