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2021/10/04      |  Written By:  Lieutenant Colonel M Masondo   |   Province:  Gauteng

PARKTOWN:  03 October 2021 - The Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has welcomed the recovery of 78 unlicensed firearms of varying calibre and 102 rounds of ammunition in a period between 26 September 2021 to 02 October 2021. These firearms were recovered as a result of police initiated operations such as stop and searches, crime combating, suspects tracing and also following up on tip-offs from the community.

Four unlicensed firearms were recovered and four suspects arrested after police foiled an armed robbery in Cosmo City, Honeydew - Johannesburg on Thursday 30 September 2021. Police received information about suspects that were planning to rob a chain store in Cosmo City. Information was operationalised and police from Honeydew Reaction Team spotted the vehicle that matched the description given. They pounced on the vehicle and found two suspects with two firearms.

Police proceeded to a safe house and two more suspects were arrested after they were found with two unlicensed firearms. On Friday, 01 October 2021, police recovered three firearms as they were pursuing a suspect believed to be behind the killing of people in Bekkersdal and West Rand recently. Information was received about the whereabouts of the suspect. A search operation consisting of members from Crime Intelligence, West Rand K9 and Highway Patrol Unit was launched and they proceeded to Leratong Taxi Rank in Kagiso where the suspect was located.

When the suspect saw the police he started running away towards the open veld and police gave chase. The suspect fired shots towards the police whilst running. He dropped the firearm on the ground and proceeded runninng into the river. Police went to search his premises and found two more unlicensed firearms. In Kameeldrift, Tshwane District, on Thursday 30 September 2021, police arrested four suspects who were found in possession of three unlicensed firearms, a vehicle reported to be hijacked and a vehicle taken from a house robbery.

Through police's crime Intelligence, information was received about a gang that is involved in vehicle hijackings and house robberies in Pretoria area. A team consisting of Highway Patrol, Tracker Connect and the Hawks launched an operation to search for the suspects. The suspect's vehicle, a Mazda CX-5 with four suspects was stopped in Kameeldrift. Upon searching the car and occupants, police found three unlicensed firearms. Preliminary investigation revealed that the car was reportedly hijacked. Further investigation led the police to Pretoria where police found a Chev Cruze that was taken during a house robbery in Pretoria.

All four suspects were arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of hijacked vehicle and possession of stolen vehicle. Other firearms were recovered in various parts of Gauteng during operations. They have been sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for ballistic tests to establish if they were used in any other crimes. Lieutenant General Elias Mawela is pleased with the way police deal with the proliferation of illegal firearms in the province. "These are the firearms that are used to commit serious and violent crimes in our province and I am happy that our members are working hard to recover them.

I believe that we have saved lives of innocent people that would have been killed by criminals using these firearms. Ballistic tests results will help us link these suspects to other crimes committed in our province," said Lieutenant General Mawela.