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By Citizen Reporter


20 illegal miners arrested, 15 AK47s and six hunting rifles seized

'The operation is ongoing and we cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests and more seizures.'

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in North West have arrested twenty (20) illegal mining suspects following an early morning raid at a mine shaft in Stilfontein on Monday.

According to Colonel Katlego Mogale, fifteen (15) AK47s, six (6) hunting rifles, two (2) shotguns and one (1) R5, boxes full of ammunition, explosives and an undisclosed amount of money were seized during the operation.

The suspects are expected to make their first appearance before the Stilfontein Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where they will be facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, possession of prohibited firearms, possession of ammunition and contravention of the immigration act.

The National Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenanant General Godfrey Lebeya lauded the arrests and seizures by the multi-disciplinary team and warned that “this is only just the beginning”.

“The operation is ongoing and we cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests and more seizures.”

In the Western Cape, the Maitland Flying Squad arrested a 34-year-old male for possession of a prohibited firearm at a funeral on Sunday.

ALSO READ: Three suspects arrested for unlicensed possession of firearms in Gauteng

According to Ndakhe Gwala, the members acted on information received about a suspicious vehicle in Mfuleni.

“As they arrived, they heard gunshots from a church where a funeral service was taking place. They searched all the vehicles in the premises and found a firearm with 2 magazines and 41 rounds of ammunition. A 34-year-old suspect was arrested and detained at Mfuleni SAPS. He will make his court appearance in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s court on Tuesday.”

In the Free State, members of Tactical Response Team and Crime Intelligence in Mangaung Metro operationalised intelligence of a planned armed robbery that was supposed to be carried out in Botshabelo. The team followed the armed suspects driving along N8 National Road between Bloemfontein and Botshabelo and tactically halted the Toyota Conquest at about 14:00.

“The police searched the vehicle and found two firearms with 15 rounds of ammunition. The one firearm was reported stolen during a robbery in Kopanong Police Station area. The second one had the serial number filed-off,” said Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane.

Two male suspects, aged 21 and 27, were then arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. The suspects will appear in Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Tuesday, 11 October 2022.

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