Durban — Four vehicles were hijacked and five suspects were arrested in Cato Manor, Durban, on Thursday.
A street vendor near the scene, who asked not to be named, said she was in the clinic nearby before hearing gunshots.
“After hearing the gunshots, I ran and panicked because I thought it was people coming to attack the clinic,” said the vendor.
She said that the gates were slammed shut, but after a while, they realised that it was not an attack on the clinic, but an attack outside. The clinic soon opened its gates.
On Thursday at about 1pm, the police said they received information that one of the vehicles that had been stolen could be used by hitmen, utilising it for their next job. Police also received a tip-off that the men were carrying various types of firearms.
MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, said the men were allegedly assigned to murder an official within the eThekwini Municipality. Hlomuka said that due to the police’s quick response many crimes were averted.
Hlomuka urged residents to unite and work together to assist in combating crime, and by informing the police whenever there was information about any wrongful activities.
The MEC said: “Even if it involves a police officer, it is important to notify us so that we can protect civilians and prevent loss of life.”
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said they had found two high-calibre firearms in a bag, and that there was a possibility of more, which would be revealed during the investigation.
“The police officers who were on the ground suspected four vehicles were in the area and up to no good. They decided to call for back-up, and managed to corner three of the vehicles,” said Naicker.
He added that one of the vehicles was a Nissan Navara, and in it they discovered two high-calibre rifles.
“We can confirm the arrest of five men. It is obvious that these suspects meant business and carried the hallmarks of being hitmen,” said Naicker.
He confirmed that one of the vehicles was indeed stolen, and said they would check if it was linked to other crimes. He also said the police intended to assess their fingerprints to see if the suspects were linked to other criminal activities.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.