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KwaZulu-Natal - ‘We always had each others’ backs. He was a fantastic partner and a quiet gentleman. I can’t believe he is gone.”
These were the words of Warrant Officer Livingstone Mpangase from his hospital bed yesterday about Constable Vidhur Jadoo, his partner of four years at the Pietermaritzburg dog unit.
Mpangase was wounded and Jadoo shot dead in a hail of bullets by a gang of suspected ATM bombers in Howick, on Wednesday.
Provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmomonnye Ngobeni, visited Jadoo’s family at their home with a contingent of police officers and media to convey her condolences to his grieving relatives.
Jadoo’s wife, Ashreena, was inconsolable.
“Our police officers are mandated to protect the citizens of our country,” Ngobeni said, her voice cracking with emotion.
“This was not supposed to have happened. I assure you that we will do everything in our power to track down the criminals who did this and bring them to book.”
She confirmed that a task team had already been set up, led by Hawks investigators, to hunt down the suspects.
Ngobeni described the spate of killings of police officers in KwaZulu-Natal as “totally unacceptable”.
Jadoo’s death brings to 10 the number of policemen killed in the province this year.
“Just last month, another of our officers was shot dead in Pinetown while executing his duties and protecting our citizens from robbers.
“The killings have to stop. These criminals are depriving our communities of their constitutional right to be protected,” Ngobeni said.
She appealed to the public to come forward with information on the suspects.
“Somebody somewhere knows something. We have to work together to bring these criminals to book.
“Criminals are fearful because they know our police are hot on their heels, that is why they are killing us… but we will not stand by and allow this to continue. This will not be tolerated any longer,” she said.
Crying uncontrollably while being comforted by family and friends, Jadoo’s wife of three years, Ashreena, said the last thing her husband did before he left for work on Tuesday night was kiss her goodbye.
“I was waiting for him to come home from his shift when I got the phone call… I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what they were telling me. I can’t believe he’s not coming back,” she said.
Ashreena said her husband loved his job.
“We were thinking about starting a family soon,” she sobbed.
Jadoo’s funeral was due to be held on Thursday at the Aryan Samaj Hall in Pietermaritzburg. He joined the police force nine years ago and had been attached to the K9 unit for five years.
After visiting Jadoo’s family, Ngobeni made her way to a city hospital where she spoke to Mpangase, who underwent emergency surgery.
Tears streaming down his face, Mpangase, 44, said he was grateful to be alive but was devastated by his partner’s death.
“I kept praying to God to keep us safe and bring us out alive. I don’t know why I survived and he didn’t,” he said.
Police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said the drama unfolded when officers, based at Howick police station, received a report of a robbery at Midmar Dam at 2am on Wednesday.
On their arrival, they spoke to the security guard who told them that two men had robbed him of his cellphone and wallet.
“Constable Jadoo and Warrant Officer Mpangase responded to the scene,” Mdunge said.
The policemen followed the suspects through the streets of Howick, until the suspects eventually stopped their vehicle in the middle of Midmar Road, in a residential area, with the lights switched off, and lay in wait until the policemen caught up with them.
It was here, when the police car approached the suspect’s car, that they opened fire on the officers.
Jadoo was shot in the head while Mpangase was shot in the face and leg.
The robbers then escaped in their vehicle, which was later found abandoned.
Police found a gun, 10 commercial explosives, four electronic detonators and a hammer – generally used in ATM bombings – inside the abandoned vehicle.
There have been two recent ATM bombings in the Merrivale area, just outside Howick.
Police are investigating a case of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery. - Daily News