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Volksrust - A man was shot dead in a shootout with the police on Thursday, Mpumalanga police said.
Wielding an AK-47 assault rifle, the 39-year-old man jumped out of a car and shot at the police, said Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
He said the police saw two men driving a Audi in Volksrust, checked its number plate, and discovered it was fake.
“They signalled the driver to halt, but he sped off taking the gravel road to Piet Retief, and a chase ensued,” Mohlala said.
Police stopped on the road when they found the men's car abandoned.
The men came out of the bushes and held two police officers at gunpoint.
They took the officers' cellphones and fled in the police van, said Mohlala.
When the robbers came across more police looking for them in another police vehicle, they signalled it to stop and held these officers at gunpoint too.
The men disarmed them, took their cellphones, and broke their two-way police radio.
Mohlala said that, in the meantime, farmers in the area used a truck to block the road, while other police chased the robbers.
“When the suspects noticed that the road was blocked, they tried to make a U-turn, but they had no escape route as the other police vehicles were behind them,” Mohlala said.
A robber in the passenger's seat jumped out with an AK-47 and shot at the police, who returned fire, he said.
One man was shot dead and another was arrested. The 51-year-old man would appear in the Sheepmore Periodical Court on Friday.
Mohlala said the police seized five firearms, ammunition, explosives, balaclavas, gloves, a hammer and wiring for batteries.
He said police were not injured in the shootout.