Nine suspected robbers were left dead after two shootouts with police, who tracked them through the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Monday.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said officers from Crime Intelligence, the National Intervention Unit (NU) and the Special Task Force (STF) had been acting on information that the gang was planning a robbery in the Bulwer area.
He said the STF first swooped on two vehicles that were travelling together in the Mpophomeni area, near Howick.
“When they tried to stop the vehicles, the suspects opened fire on them. They retaliated, shooting and killing six of the suspects and injuring one,” Zwane said.
He said a number of rifles and handguns were recovered from that scene.
Zwane said later, another team of officers located a white Ford Ikon in the Bulwer area. They tailed the vehicle down the N3, towards Durban.
When they reached the Mariannhill Toll Plaza – and with the help of the Shongweni K9 unit – they attempted to pull the vehicle over. Another exchange of gunfire ensued.
Three more suspects were killed and one more, injured.
Zwane said more rifles and handguns were recovered from that scene.
“Cases of attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition are being investigated,” Zwane said.
He said police would also be investigating any potential links the gang may have had to other violent crimes, such as home invasions and hijackings.
One of the vehicles recovered yesterday, had been reported hijacked, he said.
Inquest dockets would also be opened, Zwane said.
Rescue Care’s Garrith Jamieson said yesterday afternoon that paramedics had treated a critically injured male for gunshot wounds after a shooting incident, just before the toll.
“Three others were declared deceased on scene,” he said.