Two Inanda police officers were robbed of their guns, stripped of their uniforms and shot, in an impudent attack on Tuesday in broad daylight.
A 38-year-old sergeant was killed and left in the back of his police van. His partner, a female sergeant who was critically injured, was flown to hospital.
Major Thulani Zwane, the Police spokesman, said the two police officers, from the Inanda station’s inquiries office, had gone to serve a protection order on a man in connection with a domestic violence case to the Namibia informal settlement. Zwane continued to say that at the suspect’s house, the police officers were overpowered by the suspect and two others and were robbed of their firearms. He said the officers were also stripped of their uniforms.
He went on to say the officers were driven to Ngcungcwini, in Inanda, by the suspect and two others, where they were both shot and locked up in the back of the police van. The suspects ran away and a police helicopter and other units were sent to hunt for them, but they were still at large.
Furthermore, Zwane said officers from the station became emotional when they saw the officer’s van, on Tuesday at the scene. He said they would be sent for counselling.
The police forensics team was seen speaking to detectives of the Hawks, documenting the crime scene, taking pictures and video footage of the van.
“I saw a speeding police vehicle passing by and, after a short time, I heard two gunshots,” said a resident of the area, who asked not to be identified because he feared for his safety. He continued to say, “Myself and the people I was with first thought it was police who were firing, but we asked ourselves why they would shoot at someone who was inside the van.”
He went on to say he then saw a man talking on the phone and heard him say something about “trouble” and later saw two other men with guns, and suspected that the men were involved in the shooting. He also said he believed the suspects had wanted to torch the police van but fled when they could not find matches.
Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said that the attacks on police were on the rise and this was “extremely worrying”.
KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Willies Mchunu, and the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant- General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, conveyed their condolences to the deceased officer’s family and wished the wounded officer a rapid recovery.
Mchunu said he was disturbed by the impudent nature of the attack. He also said they had to redouble their efforts to fight crime since atrocious murders of officers continue to happen.
The police spokesman said the deceased officer’s name would be released later.