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Police hunt for gunmen who killed 5 in suspected taxi-related hit in oThongathi

Five people were killed in shootings in the oThongathi area on Thursday. Picture: Supplied/ Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa)

Five people were killed in shootings in the oThongathi area on Thursday. Picture: Supplied/ Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa)

Published Mar 23, 2023


Durban - KwaZulu-Natal police are on the hunt for hitmen who killed five people travelling on the R102 in oThongathi on Thursday in what is believed to be related to taxi violence.

This comes after two taxi owners were gunned down in the Berea area of Durban on Monday.

Provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Robert Netshiunda said five people were shot and fatally wounded in two separate incidents which happened minutes apart.

Netshiunda said in the first incident, it was reported that suspects fired shots towards a vehicle on the R102 Road.

He said the driver and one passenger were fatally wounded at the scene. One person was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds.

According to police, the very same vehicle was allegedly spotted at the second incident, a few kilometres away from the first crime scene.

“Reports indicate that suspects, who were using high-calibre rifles, fired several shots at security guards who were reportedly escorting a taxi owner. Three security guards were fatally wounded inside the vehicle,” said Netshiunda.

Netshiunda said a taxi owner, who was reportedly driving behind the security guards' vehicle, managed to drive off, but the suspects allegedly followed him.

He said the gunmen continued firing shots at the taxi owner’s vehicle.

“Another security guard who was travelling with the taxi owner sustained gunshot injuries and was rushed to hospital,” he said.

Police said the connection between the two incidents has not yet been determined.

“The search for the suspects is under way and the motive of the killings has not yet been confirmed, although taxi-related violence could not be ruled out,” said Netshiunda.

Five people were killed in shootings in the oThongathi area on Thursday. Picture: Supplied/ Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa)

IPSS Medical Rescue spokesperson, Dylan Meyrick said paramedics attended both shooting incidents in oThongathi.

At the first scene, he said two people were declared dead on the scene and one person was stabilised and transported to a nearby facility.

Meyrick said while paramedics were treating the gunshot victim from the first scene, IPSS Medical Rescue received reports of another drive-by shooting.

He said additional resources were dispatched.

“On arrival of paramedics at the second scene it was found that a further three people had sustained fatal gunshot wounds. One person from the second scene sustained serious injuries and a second person sustained critical injuries,” said Meyrick.

Meyrick said both injured patients were stabilised on scene and were transported to a nearby facility under the care of IPSS Advanced Life Support paramedics.

Meanwhile, ALS Paramedics spokesperson Garrith Jamison said a man believed to be in his fifties was shot on the corner of Lena Ahrens and Deodar Road in the Glenwood area of Durban.

“At this stage I can confirm that a person has sustained a gunshot wound to his lower limbs.

“He is in a serious condition and is currently being stabilised by Advanced Life Support paramedics,” said Jamieson.

In another shooting on Thursday, police said a woman and a man were wounded when the vehicle they were travelling in was shot at.

Netshiunda said the two people were reportedly shot by an unknown number of suspects, who were travelling in two vehicles on the N2, Athlone Park off-ramp in aManzimtoti.

“The suspects fled the scene after the shooting and the motive of the shooting is unknown. The two victims were rushed to hospital for treatment. The man who was shot is believed to be the owner of a security company,” he said.

Also on Monday, a family of three, including a nine-year-old child were killed in a drive-by shooting in Springfield Park.