Hunt for suspects after army base armed robbery
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“We are confident that within 24 hours we will make an announcement about the arrest of those involved in the armed robbery.”
This is according to SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobhozi following an embarrassing heist at 9 South African Infantry Battalion Base in Khayelitsha.
Police launched a manhunt for the five armed suspects who stormed the base at about 3am on Friday, overpowering the gate guards, making off with six R4 rifles, magazines and ammunition. No injuries were reported.
Police say a case of armed robbery has been opened which is being investigated by the police's crack provincial detective team.
“Circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation. No one has been arrested at this stage,” said police spokesperson FC van Wyk.
Mgobhozi said yesterday the investigating team was working around the clock to recover the stolen weapons before they could be used.
“The investigations are at a sensitive stage. No one has been arrested, but within 24 hours, we will make an announcement about the arrest of those involved in the armed robbery.
"The people investigating this are not sleeping. They want to make sure these weapons are recovered. We are taking this very seriously. We have informed our commanders and members to be even more vigilant, he said.
Asked whether they were considering beefing up security measures, Mgobhozi said: “Even if you can put 100 people, such incidents will continue happening."
Mgobhozi said that while the investigations are ongoing, they have noted reports suggesting the attack may have been an inside job.
The chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, Malusi Motimele, called for an urgent review of security at all military bases in the country to ensure that they meet the requisite standards.
“The committee will urgently convene a meeting with the department to ascertain measures put in place to reverse these worrying incidents. Military bases are supposed to be the most secure sites considering the kind of weaponry kept at these sites. It is thus alarming that robbers are of late targeting these sites, more so because these weapons stolen will surely be used for nefarious deeds,” said Motimele.
Anyone with information about the incident is requested to contact Crime Stop on 0860 01011 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.
In January, Duncan Gouvias was handed a 43-year jail sentence after being found guilty of a robbery at Simon's Town naval base last year. He pleaded guilty to all five counts.
Gouvias was arrested along with co-accused Dilian Sewkumar and Karabo Ramokgopa for the theft of various arms, including 58 hand grenades, two assault rifles and four Uzi sub-machine guns.