Durban — Over the past few days KwaZulu-Natal police in parts of the province arrested several suspects and recovered firearms and ammunition in separate incidents.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said that after several incidents of hijackings were reported, King Cetshwayo District Economic Infrastructure Task Team officers gathered intelligence about the suspects believed to be behind the crimes.
Intelligence led the officers to a student accommodation in the Mtunzini-Dlangezwa area where a suspect was arrested on Saturday night, January 7, 2024, he said.
“He was found in illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition,” Netshiunda said.
“The team proceeded to KwaMthethwa Reserve in Empangeni where two more suspects were arrested after they were found to be in possession of a signal jammer as well as an unlicensed firearm and a set of gloves.”
Netshiunda said that on Saturday, January 6, a team of police officers from Nhlanhleni SAPS, which included newly appointed constables, was conducting stop and search operations along the R33 Road Dundee/Greytown Road when they stopped a double cab bakkie.
“The subsequent search led to the recovery of two pistols with ammunition as well as two bulletproof vests. The 33-year-old driver, who is a foreign national, was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.”
Netshiunda said that in a separate incident, in the Ntunjambili area, under the Kranskop policing precinct, members acted on information about someone who was troublesome and said to be in possession of an unlicensed firearm.
“Upon searching his place of residence, one pistol was found. He was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm,” Netshiunda said.
“Both suspects will appear at Msinga and Kranskop magistrate’s courts respectively on Monday, January 8, 2024.”
In another incident that has already gone to court, Netshiunda said that police in KwaMsane arrested Scelo Mabanga, 42, of the Macekeni area for the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
On January 4, police received a tip-off about two people fighting in the Mpelenyana area in Hlabisa and one of them had unlicensed firearms, he said.
“Police responded swiftly and upon arrival, a pistol, a rifle and six rounds of ammunition were recovered,” Netshiunda said. “The suspect was immediately traced and arrested.”
Netshiunda said Mabanga was charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition as well as for assault GBH (grievous bodily harm).
“Scelo Mabanga has already appeared in the Hlabisa Magistrate’s Court on January 5 and was remanded in custody until Tuesday, January 9, 2024, for a formal bail application.”
Netshiunda said that on Friday, an intelligence-driven operation by members of the Provincial Drugs and Firearms Unit led to the recovery of firearms and ammunition at a storage facility on Syringia Avenue.
He said 99 bottles of cough syrup were also found on the premises.
“The firearms recovered were two pistols and two shotguns. Investigations are ongoing and a team is out in search of the owners of the firearms,” Netshiunda said.
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