Johannesburg - Members of the Engcobo community in the Eastern Cape, still reeling from the bloody events of last week, have gathered outside the local magistrate's court to oppose bail for 12 suspects who face charges of murder, attempted murder and possession of illegal weapons and ammunition.
According to local police, the suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday following a deadly shoot-out with police at the weekend.
Police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said a memorial service is to be held on Tuesday at the Engcobo Methodist Church, with various community and government leaders expected to attend.
Tonjeni added that the Engcobo police station, where five police officers and a soldier were gunned down by a heavily armed gang, is open to the public and continues to offer services to the community.
Five policemen from Engcobo police station were killed on Wednesday night by unknown gunmen who robbed the police station of 10 firearms and fled the scene with a police vehicle they hijacked. The five policeman were identified as Warrant Officer Zuko Mbini, 45, Constable Zuku Ntsheku, 38, Constable Nkosiphendule Pongco, 32, Constable Sibongiseni Sodlana, 32, and Constable Kuhle Metete, 27.
A retired soldier, 58-year-old Freddy Mpandeni, was also shot dead when the suspects fled the station.
The massacre sparked outrage across the country and a multi-disciplinary task team was assembled to track down the gang.
The team made a major breakthrough when they fatally shot seven suspects in a shoot-out at the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries Church at Nyanga village on Friday night.
According to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), more than 10 other suspects were arrested while others managed to escape. One police officer was wounded and was recuperating in hospital.
The task team, which comprised of the Hawks, crime intelligence, and the police's national intervention unit and tactical response teams, followed up on information of a possible gang that was responsible for Wednesday night's attack on the police station.
The group, which used a church as a hiding place, was cornered inside the church premises. A gun battle between suspects and police ensued which left seven suspects dead and a task force member injured in the legs.
African News Agency/ANA