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RUSTENBURG - A 36-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a policeman, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) - known as the Hawks - said on Thursday.

Hawks North West spokesperson, Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, said Bathobile Colesto Khohliso was sentenced on Wednesday by the High Court, sitting in Klerksdorp, for the murder of Constable Baliki Mogapi, 33.

Mogapi was shot dead on July 21 2016 at Hartbeesfontein, near Klerksdorp. The officer and a colleague were attending a crime scene after an alarm went off at an FNB ATM.

"Upon arrival, they spotted a security vehicle of a local security company parked nearby. The police approached the security vehicle to engage the security guard, however, the vehicle had been taken over by the suspects who had tied up the security guard," said Rikhotso.

"The accused alighted from the security vehicle and fired a single shot which hit Constable Baliki Mogapi in the head, fatally wounding him. His partner managed to exit the SAPS vehicle and subsequently fired a single shot in the direction of the fleeing assailant," said Rikhotso.

She said a manhunt by the Hawks’ Priority Violent Crimes unit and the Provincial Tactical Response Team led to the arrest of seven suspects in and around Pretoria and Katlehong. Two pistols and two vehicles were also seized.

"The charges against the six suspects were later dropped. Khohliso was sentenced to life imprisonment and also received an additional 45 years for various counts including attempted murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm and ammunition." 

African News Agency (ANA)