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Durban - Three people have been arrested after South African Police Service (SAPS) officers came under attack from an unruly mob and some were injured while they were going about their drug-fighting duties in Shallcross in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Sunday.

Durban SAPS flying squad officers were conducting an operation in Taurus Street in Shallcross on Saturday when they were allegedly attacked by a group of about 200 community members, Colonel Thembeka Mbele said.

"Police were following up on an intelligence [report] about drug trade in that area. Police officers were assaulted and a rifle was stolen. Police vehicles were stoned and damaged," she said.

Officers from the public order police, national intervention unit, K9 unit, and police air wing, as well as Chatsworth police station were at the scene. The unruly crowd tried to prevent paramedics assisting the injured police officers. The injured police officers were taken to hospital for medical attention.

"Police arrested two suspects, aged 37 and 41, and they will be charged. Swift police action led to the recovery of the firearm and the arrest of a 26-year-old suspect who was found in possession of [the] police rifle. He was caught while trying to conceal it. He will be charged for illegal possession of a firearm. The arrested suspects will appear in the Chatsworth Magistrate's Court soon.

Cases of public violence, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, theft of a firearm, malicious damage to property, and obstructing police officers were opened.

"We will not tolerate such criminal and barbaric acts by people who attack police and obstruct them from conducting their duties. Anyone caught doing so will face the full might of law," Mbele said.

African News Agency/ANA