The scene of the shoot-out at the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries Church at Nyanga village. Photo: SAPS

Cape Town - Parliament's police portfolio committee has welcomed the breakthrough made by a police special task team on Friday night, which resulted in a shoot-out between the task team and heavily armed suspects allegedly involved in the Ngcobo police station attack in the Eastern Cape this week. 

Committee chairman Francois Beukman on Saturday welcomed the arrest of 10 suspects and the confiscation of a large number of weapons. The committee also noted that seven suspects were shot dead in the shoot-out.

The committee wished a task team member who was wounded in the incident a speedy recovery. The task team was commended for the breakthrough.

"We trust that the other suspects will be apprehended soon. [Police] members worked non-stop to arrest the possible suspects in the case and their commitment and professionalism should be an example to all law-enforcement agencies. It is important that all suspects in the case be subjected to the judicial process as soon as possible,” Beukman said.

Earlier, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said seven suspects allegedly involved in the Ngcobo police station attack were shot dead during a shoot-out with a police special task force on Friday night.

The multi-disciplinary task team established to investigate the murders of five police officers and a retired soldier at Ngcobo made a major breakthrough when they fatally shot seven suspects in a shoot-out at the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries Church at Nyanga village, the Hawks said.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said 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 comprises of the Hawks, crime intelligence, the national intervention unit, and the tactical response team, followed up on information of a possible gang that was responsible for Wednesday night's attack on the police station.

“The group, which uses 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,” he said.

An unknown number of suspects managed to escape and police were searching for them. A number of firearms were confiscated, Mulaudzi said.

Five policemen from Ngcobo 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 from two policemen, who they then murdered. The police van was later found abandoned in a ditch off the road a few kilometres from the police station.  

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.

African News Agency/ANA