ENGCOBO – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has saluted the police officers who “worked tirelessly” to track down the suspects allegedly involved in the eNgcobo police murders.
The Hawks announced that seven suspects who were allegedly involved in the murders, have been killed in a shootout.
A special task team swooped on what is believed to be the gang’s hideout in a church.
A shootout ensued and one police officer was wounded in the crossfire.
More than 10 people have been arrested and an unknown number of suspects escaped and are being sought by the police.
“A word of gratitude to the community of eNgcobo for working with police, they exemplify what we want from all our communities in South Africa,” Mbalula tweeted early on Saturday morning.
“Salute to the SAPS officers who worked tirelessly to find these criminals on the 72-hour manhunt.”
Police still busy at the Mancoba Church near Ngcobo, after a late-night shoutout wth suspects. 7 were killed,10 arrested and others escaped. It’s believed the group was hiding out here after a massacre at the Engcobo SAPS on Wednesday. #SAPSattack pic.twitter.com/m2S1uTh0uE— Dasen Thathiah (@DasenThathiah) February 24, 2018
Mbalula’s words were echoed by parliament’s portfolio committee on police.
Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said that the task team comprising of different SAPS units should be commended for the breakthrough in the matter.
"We trust that the other suspects will be apprehended soon,” Beukman said.
“Members worked non-stop to arrest the possible suspects in the case and their commitment and professionalism should be an example to all law-enforcement agencies.
“It is important that all suspects in the case be subjected to the judicial process as soon as possible.”
The committee also extended its well wishes to the police officer who was wounded in the gun battle.
The small town in the Eastern Cape has been left reeling after assailants entered a police station and opened fire on officers.
Five policemen and a retired soldier were killed.
The five policemen were identified as Warrant Officer Zuko Mbini, Constable Zuku Ntsheku, Constable Nkosiphendule Pongco, Constable Sibongiseni Sodlana and Constable Kuhle Metete.
The retired soldier who was also killed has been identified as Freddy Mpandeni.
A memorial will be held in honour of the fallen officers next Tuesday.