Students ’caught’ with illegal high calibre gun in Braam appear in court
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Johannesburg – Two students who were allegedly found with an illegal high calibre firearm in Braamfontein were expected to appear at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
The two, a man aged 24 and a 21-year-old woman were arrested on Wednesday afternoon for being in possession of a Galil, an automatic rifle made in Israel. It allegedly had a loaded magazine as well.
They face charges of the possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition as well as possession of a dangerous weapon.
Gauteng police’s Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said they were not at liberty to disclose the institution the two attend.
She said police had been on high alert for the past week, monitoring protests by students of various tertiary institutions in the province, particularly in Johannesburg.
She said they later got a tip-off regarding the firearm.
“A Crime Intelligence report about a dangerous weapon was operationalised and led police to a gathering in Braamfontein where students were in attendance.
“It is at this gathering where members observed two students in Stiemens Street carrying an automatic rifle. The officers kept close watch and saw the pair drive off in a vehicle. The car was followed and ultimately stopped by the Johannesburg Flying Squad and the Tactical Response Team in Auckland Park.
“Police searched and found in the vehicle a Galil, an automatic rifle of Israeli-make, with a loaded magazine.
Peters was unable to say whose car the two travelling in and whether they were the only occupants.
She could also not say whether the two were brazenly carrying the firearm in broad daylight when they were apprehended or had hidden it.
“What is not contained in the statement are details that we do not divulge in the best interest of the investigations that’s under way.”
Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has since ordered an urgent probe into the firearm.
“This goes to prove the magnitude of the problem police are facing in terms of the proliferation of illegal firearms. That this could be in the arms of a student is worrisome, notwithstanding the question why a firearm of this calibre was brought to a gathering of students in the first place.”
On Wednesday, four police officers appeared in court in connection with the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba, who was caught in the crossfire during running battles between protesting students and the police.
Ntumba, a bystander, had just walked out of the MyClinic Medical Centre in Braamfontein when he was allegedly shot and killed by the police during the Wits student protests. He died at the scene.