Five police officers and a retired soldier were shot dead on Wednesday morning. Picture: SAPS

Port Elizabeth - Seven suspects allegedly involved in the Ngcobo police attack were killed during a shootout with Eastern Cape police on Friday night, South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) said.

Hawks Spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the multi disciplinary team, tasked to investigate the murders of the five police officers and a retired soldier from Ngcobo, made a major breakthrough after they fatally shot seven suspects in a shootout.

“More than 10 other suspects were arrested while others managed to escape. One police officer was wounded and he is recuperating in hospital,” said Mulaudzi.

He said 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 the tragic incident which took place on Wednesday.

“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.

Read: Four taken in for questioning over Ngcobo massacre

An unknown number of suspects managed to escape and are currently being sought by the police.

A number of firearms have been confiscated.

Read more: LOOK: 'A police officer's life is cheap in Ngcobo'

Five policemen from Ngcobo Police Station were killed on Wednesday by unknown gunmen who robbed the police station of 10 firearms and fled the scene with a police vehicle they hijacked from two policemen, whom they kidnapped and murdered. The police van was later found deserted in a ditch, off the road a few kilometers from the 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 and killed when the suspects fled the station.

African News Agency/ANA