A Lesotho national living in South Africa illegally and wanted for eight murders was killed in a shootout with the police in Roodepoort. File picture: Pexels

Johannesburg - A Lesotho national living in South Africa illegally and wanted for eight murders was killed in a shootout with the police in Roodepoort.

The man was in the company of two of his countrymen who are believed to also be in the country illegally. One was shot and wounded while the other was arrested.

According to Gauteng Police's Mathapelo Peters, officers went to a hostel in Durban Deep, Roodepoort on Monday looking for the man in connection with eight cases of murder.

"The cases currently being investigated by the police relate to several incidents of murder committed in Matholesville, Durban-Deep, Brammfisherville, Roodepoort and surrounding areas.

"On arrival at the scene, it is alleged that a shootout ensued between the suspects and the police and one suspect was fatally wounded. A second suspect was injured and taken to hospital, while the third suspect was taken into custody.

"Police recovered on the scene two unlicensed firearms with ammunition. Further investigations led police to another room at Durban Deep Hostel where police seized explosives and four firearm holsters," she said.

Peters said Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela had previously engagement with the community which had raised complaints of being terrorised by the deceased.

"According to the community, the deceased was behind some incidents of rape, armed robberies, murders and other serious and violent crimes in the area.

"Lieutenant General Mawela, immediately sanctioned an urgent investigation into these allegations by the community and assigned a team of seasoned investigators under the leadership of the District Commissioner of the West Rand, Major General P Kekana. The team made a breakthrough on Monday when the intelligence-led operation resulted in the suspects being located and arrested.

Petrs said while the identities of the three men could not be divulged now,  they had all been confirmed as Lesotho nationals who have been staying in the country illegally.

She said further investigations would be carried out to establish whether the suspects as well as the recovered firearms could be linked to other serious and violent crimes beyond the cases that are already with the police. 

The provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mawela, welcomed the arrest and commended the team members for having worked tirelessly in making sure that the suspects are found.

“This success yet again highlights the valuable role the community can play in the fight against crime. This breakthrough comes as a result of information received from the community of Roodepoort. 

"Ours as the police is now to ensure that the ongoing investigations lead to successful convictions, ultimately making sure that our communities feel safe again in their respective neighbourhoods,” Mawela said.

The Star