Two less than expected vigilant standard South African cops have been dramatically ambushed, robbed of their firearms and locked in the back of their colorfully marked SAPS van in broad daylight. In what security critics worldwide have described as a possible reflection of a relaxed police training regime, the fiasco, recorded on a company surveillance camera made it easier for the police to track down and make three arrests.
The SAPS quickly attempted to quell off the humiliating situation claiming the firearms have been recovered though the claims remain unconfirmed. The incident add to the long standing fear of unruly and uncontrollable hemorrhaging of service firearms getting in wrong hands fueling the gun crime which currently stand the highest in the world.
Gauteng police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said the incident happened in Rabie Ridge on Tuesday afternoon when two policemen stopped at a roadside food vendor to buy lunch after parking their marked police van on the verge.
“They were suddenly surrounded by a group of people who took their firearms and locked them in the back of their van,” said Malila.
Malila said the police officers were helped out of the van by onlookers and immediately started chasing the suspects who had left on foot.
“They called for back-up as the suspects then hijacked a car and tried to get away,” Malila said.
He said the suspects then lost control of the hijacked car and crashed.
Three men, aged between 25 and 30, were arrested and three firearms were recovered. Other accomplices are believed to have escaped.
Malila said two of the seized guns were taken off the two policemen earlier, while the third has been linked to a shooting in September in which a metro police officer was shot dead.
“One of the suspects in that case is already on the court roll, so we are hoping we can make some more links,” Malila said.
“At this stage of the investigation, we are looking for another three or four guys,” he said.
Trauma debriefing has been arranged for the two policemen, and the apprehended suspects will appear in the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court “soon”, Malila said.
Police are appealing for anyone with information regarding the suspects to come forward and report it to Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS 32211