Gang linked to Ndwedwe top cop’s murder killed in shootout with police; SAPS K9 killed
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DURBAN: Three men, believed to have been involved in the murder of a KwaZulu-Natal SAPS station commander last month, have been killed. A police dog was also killed and two more police dogs remain in a serious condition, at a local veterinary clinic.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said officers were following up on information about the murder of Ndwedwe Acting Station Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jabulani Ndawonde.
"They were led to Maqongqo, which falls under the Bishopstowe policing precinct, in Pietermaritzburg. Officers tried to intercept four suspects, travelling in a vehicle, when they came under fire. Police fired back and the suspects abandoned their vehicle and ran into a nearby sugar cane field," she said.
Mbele said two suspects were fatally wounded during the exchange of gunfire.
She said a canine was shot dead and the other two canines were rushed to a veterinary clinic after they were shot by the group of thugs.
"A third suspect was found dead in the sugar cane fields. Two rifles and four pistols were recovered at the scene. The investigation conducted revealed that the suspects’ vehicle was stolen. The suspects were positively linked to the murder of the police officer, as well as a string of murder cases committed in KwaNdengezi and surrounding areas," Mbele said.
Officers are still searching for the remaining suspect.
KZN provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi hailed officers for their bravery.
He said the recovery of such firearms, at the hands of the criminals, is a testimony that police are turning the tide against crime.
"We will make sure that we hunt all the criminals who are terrorising the citizens of this province," he said.
The South African Community Crime Watch (SACCW) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Steven King said the news came as a shock to them. King said the communities rely on the expertise of the handlers and their K9s to assist in fighting crime. The loss of K9 police dogs is devastating news.
“It's very sad to know that the handlers have bonded with their K9s, they are not just part of the unit but each handler and his K9 are a family. They are in a relationship that very few will know and understand. They are partners. We hope that justice will be served and that the suspects will be given the harshest penalty under the law.
“We haven't just lost a K9 police dog. We lost an officer in blue, who dedicated its life and paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our communities. The cost of training and upkeep of these dedicated officers is not cheap.
“We would like to appeal to the communities to assist the units in their respective areas, to see how they can assist to make sure that these valuable units stay in optimum operational condition.
“We at SACCW have a great relationship with many of the units and its members around the country, and would like to extend our sincere condolences to the officers and colleagues of the fallen K9 police dog,” King said