The Hawks’ Tactical Operations Management Section (TOMS) with National Intervention Unit (NIU) received information about a group of suspects from Gauteng who were enroute to commit a cash-in-transit robbery in the Mpumalanga province.
On 14 March 2023, the information was operationalised and the members proceeded to Nelspruit where two Mercedes Benz and Volvo vehicles were spotted near one of the cash management bases in Nelspruit and were monitored.
The suspects’ vehicles left the area through the N4 highway in the afternoon towards Johannesburg and were pursued.
SAPS’ Witbank and Middelburg team, Middelburg based Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation (SOCI) and Local Criminal Record Centre were alerted about the incident.
Upon spotting the vehicle on the Middelburg/ Witbank Road, the police instructed the occupants to stop but the suspects responded by firing shots at the police and a shootout ensued.
The suspects abandoned two of the vehicles and fled the scene on foot.
A fatally wounded suspect with a R5 rifle, an AK47 and a cell phone were recovered in one of the vehicles within the Witbank policing precinct.
A burnt Volvo SUV was later recovered in Vosman. Police investigation revealed that two Mercedes Benz vehicles were hijacked in Cleveland and Yeoville respectively.
In the early hours of 15 March 2023, an intelligence was received by the team with the assistance of Crime Intelligence and Hawks’ SOCI which led them to the premises in Kabokweni Village where a Mercedes Benz was recovered.
It was discovered that the vehicle was stolen in Barberton. The operation to search for the suspects is ongoing.
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