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Four CIT heist suspects killed in shootout in Hoedspruit

A collective effort by Limpopo police and the Hoedspruit Farmwatch led to the death of four CIT heists suspects as well as the arrest of a highly wanted Mozambican suspect who had been on the run since 2022.

LIMPOPO – A shootout between cash-in-transit (CIT) heist suspects, Limpopo police and the Hoedspruit Farmwatch on Wednesday resulted in the death of four suspects and one injury.

A group of suspects attacked and robbed a CIT vehicle of an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing the scene in white SUV’s and a bakkie. The robbery also resulted in the death of one of the security guards on duty who was disarmed by the suspects.

According to the provincial Hawks’ spokesperson Colonel Matimba Maluleke, the suspects shot at the escort vehicle before disarming the guards (a driver and crew) of their official rifle and pistol.

“Unfortunately the two guards were shot at and sustained injuries that resulted in the death of the driver. The suspects then pursued the armoured vehicle while shooting at it until it stopped. The driver of the armoured vehicle and his crew were allegedly ordered to disembark the vehicle, disarmed of two firearms and chased into the nearby bushes. The suspects used explosives to blast the vehicle and made off with an undisclosed amount of money,” his statement read.

Police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said they mobilised with the Hoedspruit Farmwatch and a shootout soon ensued after the team attempted to stop the suspects who retaliated with a shower of bullets.

“The team returned fire and when the dust settled, four suspects were fatally shot, one injured and arrested while others managed to evade arrest by running into nearby bushes,’ his statement read.

Photo: Justice Shipalana; SABC

Ledwaba confirmed that their escape was short lived as the duo were arrested on Thursday while travelling to Acornhoek in a taxi following an intense search mission by the Hoedspruit Farmwatch, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation and a chopper.

“One of the arrested suspects is a highly wanted Mozambican suspect who has been on the run for some time for a spate of crimes he committed in the Free State in 2022 including the murder of a police officer. The injured suspects were found in possession of suspected stolen money, a rifle and a pistol,” his statement read.

The provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has expressed her appreciation for the joint efforts by Limpopo police and the Hoedspruit Farmwatch adding that she is indebted to the continuous support received from stakeholders whose enthusiasm ensures law and order in Limpopo.

“We will stop at nothing to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. We pay tribute to one of the G4S guards who lost his life during this aggravated robbery and we will continue sweeping our street side by side with our communities and usher a safer province which we all aspire to have without failure,” Hadebe said.

The suspects are expected to appear before the Hoedspruit Magistrate’s Court soon once they are released from hospital where they are under police guard.

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