Mthatha police station attacked, prisoner killed

Four gunmen stormed an Eastern Cape police station in a brazen early morning hit-style killing a prisoner that was being kept inside the stations holding cell.
Four gunmen stormed an Eastern Cape police station in a brazen early morning hit-style killing a prisoner that was being kept inside the stations holding cell.  Image: File

Four gunmen stormed an Eastern Cape police station in a brazen early morning hit-style killing a prisoner that was being kept inside the stations holding cell on Monday.

Details of the attack remain sketchy, however police are currently on the scene.

This attack comes only weeks after gunmen robbed the Kareedouw police station, also in the Eastern Cape, on August 4.

The latest attack happened at the Ngangelizwe Police Station in Mthatha shortly after midnight on Sunday.

According to officials four men wearing balaclava’s, armed with two pistols and two rifles, entered the Community Service Centre (CSC) holding two police officials at gunpoint.

The gunmen ordered the two police officials to lie on the floor before the gunmen bound their hands. The suspects then demanding the police station jail cell and safe keys – which were kept with the police officials in the charge office.

By noon on Monday, police top brass were still at the police station.

Eastern Cape police spokespeople have declined to comment on the matter, referring all questions to the national police head office.

By afternoon, National Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole instructed that the 72-hour Action Plan be activated following the attack on the police station.

Two gunmen guarded the two police officers in the CSC while the other two suspects went to the police stations jail cells.One of the prisoners, a 38-year-old man who had been arrested for illegal possession of firearm in the Ngcobo area in July, was shot and killed inside the jail cells.

National police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili confirmed that one inmate was killed during the incident.

“It is alleged that four suspects in possession of firearms entered the Community Service Centre just after midnight and held the members on duty at gun point. Two of the suspects proceeded to the holding cells and the members heard several gunshots. The suspects then fled the scene.

“Upon investigation, it was found that a person who was in custody had been fatally shot. He was arrested on the 29th of July 2018 for possession of firearms.”

According to officials at the police station, after killing the prisoner, the gunmen threw the cell keys to the other prisoners in the cells however they did not escape or flee.

During the brazen attack, no police firearms were stolen or any of the officers injured.

Muridili said that the motive for the killing was under investigation by the multidisciplinary team that has been activated, consisting of various specialised units including seasoned police investigators.

Sitole added that security at police stations, and the safety of police officers, was of the highest priority.

“In the meantime, I have ordered that the 72-hour Action Plan be implemented immediately to track down these perpetrators who have total disregard for human lives as well as the authority of the State. I am confident that these perpetrators will be brought to book as we continue to stamp the authority of the State.”

Forensic experts spent most of Monday combing the police station for clues to assist with establishing the identity of the attackers.

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