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Mthatha - A police task team comprising of detectives, crime intelligence, and visible policing officers has been established to trace and arrest the suspect/s involved in a spate of shootings related to minibus taxi violence in Mthatha, Eastern Cape police said on Saturday.

In one incident, a 40-year-old minibus taxi driver was shot dead by unknown gunmen at Riverside near Corhana locality on the R61 around midday on Friday, Captain Dineo Koena said.

It was alleged that the minibus taxi driver was ferrying passengers from Ntlaza to Mthatha when he was stopped by a white Toyota Corolla with no registration number plates.

"Four unknown baraclava-clad assailants fired several shots at him, killing him instantly. All the passengers and his conductor escaped unhurt. Spent cartridges from a 9mm pistol were picked from the scene," Koena said.

In another incident, a 37-year-old minibus taxi owner from Northcrest taxi rank was also shot dead by unknown gunmen at Maqanyeni locality in the Sibangweni administrative area. 

The shooting occurred at about 7pm on Friday night. It was alleged that the man, a colleague, and his wife were attacked while travelling together on the N2 from Durban to Mthatha. "The deceased, who was a passenger, died at the scene while his counterpart [colleague] fled the scene and his wife was rushed to hospital in a critical condition," Koena said.

Also on Friday, at about 8pm, a 36-year-old man, a passenger in a minibus taxi, was fatally wounded by unknown assailants at Riverside near Corhana locality. It was alleged that the taxi was ferrying passengers from Mthatha to Gxulu locality in Libode when it was attacked.

The passenger and the taxi conductor, who was also shot, were rushed to Ngangelizwe clinic where the passenger succumbed to his wounds. The conductor was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

All the incidents were associated with ongoing taxi violence in Mthatha. Police were investigating murder and attempted murder cases, Koena said.

"We condemn the attacks and murders of people and urge the taxi groups to find ways to resolve their disputes amicably. We appeal to the taxi people to come to us as police when they have a misunderstanding so that we sit together and solve it," Mthatha policing cluster acting commander Brigadier Nomawethu Makonza said.

No arrests have yet been made and anyone who might have any information about the shootings is urged to contact Captain Xolile Mdepa on 082-319-8754 or the Crime Stop Line 08600-10111. All information would be treated as confidential, Koena said.

African News Agency/ANA