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Cape Town – A manhunt is under way for four men who shot dead a police constable in his van and then used it to rob a shop.

Two constables in Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape, were responding to a complaint at Zindidi Location just before midnight on Tuesday when they were approached by people “under the pretext that they were seeking help”, said national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.

Two of the four men had approached the police van on the driver's side, while the other two approached it from the other side.

Without warning, one of the suspects shot the driver, killing him instantly. The other constable was forced to carry his deceased colleague from the front of the van to the back, where they were locked up.

"One of the suspects drove the police vehicle to a nearby shop, where they ordered security to open the gate," said Naidoo.

"They then went up to the shop owner's house and robbed him of an undisclosed amount of money and alcohol."

They fled in the shop owner's Nissan Navara, leaving the constable and the deceased locked in the rear of the police van.

"The Navara was later found abandoned on the way to Mqanduli. The suspects also took a State-owned 9mm pistol with several rounds of ammunition from one of the police officers, a police bullet-proof vest and both members' cellphones.

National police commissioner Khehla Sitole has ordered an immediate manhunt for the suspects. 

"I have tasked the provincial commissioner in the Eastern Cape to mobilise the 72-hour Activation Plan, which entails the mobilisation of critical resources in an effort to ensure that information, intelligence and/or evidence to successfully trace the suspects is not lost,” said Sitole.

"We will not rest until these suspects are found and brought to book for this shocking and callous murder."

We call upon anyone who may have any information on the whereabouts of these suspects to please contact our Crime Stop number, 086 00 10111.

Cape Times