JOHANNESBURG – Local police in Boksburg on Monday confiscated four rifles and one pistol after an early morning gun battle that left three suspected illegal miners’ guards dead. This incident was the second one in three months and in the same area where police were involved in a shootout with suspected zama-zamas.
The Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) Tracing and SWAT (Intervention) Unit members acted on a tip-off from community members that there were heavily armed men “guarding” an Angelo informal settlement.
Spokesperson of the EMPD Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago said the information was received from reliable sources that men carrying rifles were walking around the settlement at about 04am.
Upon arrival, police spotted four men in the bushes brandishing rifles fitted with scopes.
“On realising the presence of the metro police, the men started shooting at the cops who returned fire and managed to fatally wound three suspects.
“It is suspected that the men who were armed with the rifles were tasked with protecting the disused mine shaft being illegally mined,” Kgasago said.
The police later searched the area and also found 15 men suspected of being involved in illegal mining in the area and they were arrested.
Lungelo Dlamini, Gauteng SAPS spokesperson said that the nationalities of the suspected illegal miners needed to be verified. “At this stage the nationality of the deceased and the arrested are still being checked on,” Dlamini said.
Photo credits – ANN7