Byrone Athman
3 minute read
15 Jun 2021

Police dogs killed in fatal encounter with alleged murder suspects in Pietermaritzburg

Byrone Athman

Three men and two police dogs were shot and killed on Monday during a shoot-out between police and four suspects in the Bishopstowe area.

Three men and two police dogs were shot and killed on Monday during a shoot-out between police and four suspects in the Bishopstowe area.

This after the men were intercepted en route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

According to RZS Security owner Radley Govender, the men were intercepted by police on Table Mountain Road on Monday morning. The ensuing shoot-out continued on and off for most of the day.

“The suspects’ vehicle rolled down a hill during the shootout into one of the sugarcane plantations and they then made their way out of the vehicle trying to flee.

“The men then engaged in a shootout with the police, resulting in two of the suspects being shot dead while two others fled deep into the fields,” said Govender.

Once at the scene The Witness heard a hail of gunfire in the area as police battled the two other men who were on the run in the sugarcane fields.

The Witness and other bystanders — who were waiting for information after the road had been blocked — heard the gunfire draw nearer and nearer, before police officers urged all those nearby to move away from the scene.

Two dogs — one from the K-9 Unit in Pietermaritzburg and one from the Shongweni Police — were shot during the exchange of fire. Two suspects were confirmed dead by police on the scene.

Another police dog was shot later in the day and rushed to the Hilton Vet Hospital by helicopter for treatment. The Hilton Vet, confirmed to The Witness that the dog had sustained a bullet wound to the head. However, the dog survived and was being treated at the vet on Monday night.

Govender said that another man was shot on Monday afternoon after police managed to track him down in the sugarcane fields, leading to another shootout.

Captain Nqobile Gwala told The Witness that the scene was still active on Monday afternoon.

Police sources said the men are believed to be linked to the killing of a policeman in Durban. They recovered a gun from the scene, which is believed to belong to an officer who was killed in Durban recently.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said two firearms were recovered and the remaining suspect is still on the loose in the Bishopstowe area.

At the beginning of April, The Witness reported on a man who was attacked on his farm in Bishopstowe. The suspects fled, but returned to the farm a week later.

The farmer was wrestled to the ground by two men but was able to reach for his gun. He shot at them, resulting in one of the suspects dying while the other fled.

The DA said in a statement in April after the farm attack that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of residents in the Bishopstowe area.

“It is clear that the deteriorating safety situation in KZN’s rural areas will only improve if there is a concentrated effort from both the South African Police Service [SAPS] and communities,” the party said.

The latest incident comes after another shoot-out early this month between police and suspected gang members in Fairfield Avenue, in Scottsville. It resulted in seven people being killed. Two of them were women. Notorious gang member Siphelele Ntsunstu Mkhize was among those killed.

Meanwhile, Mi7 private security company paid tribute to K-9 Unit member Simba, who was killed on Monday. The firm posted on Facebook: “Today is an exceptionally sad day for us here at Mi7 National Group as we bid farewell to a legend of Pietermaritzburg’s K9 Unit, officer Simba.

“Many of our seasoned Reaction Officers and managers have worked alongside this four-legged law enforcer for several years. Simba was gunned down in the line of duty today, while attempting to tackle suspects in the Bishopstowe area. He was meticulously trained and boasted a long track record of taking down some of the city’s hardest criminals. But most of all, he was a really good boy.”