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2023/03/13      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 12 March 2023 - A Sting Operation was conducted by a multidisciplinary team from the SAPS in Mpumalanga and it has led to the arrest of ten (10) suspects as well as the recovery of three hunting rifles, one shotgun and three pistols as well as some ammunition. This breakthrough was achieved in Middelburg on Friday, 10 March 2023.

According to the report, the team consisting of members from Tactical Response Team (TRT) in Witbank, Mpumalanga Tracking Team, Middelburg Flying Squad, Middelburg K9 Unit, members from Witbank Trio Crime Detectives, as well as members from Crime Intelligence in Witbank carried out an operation in pursuit of people of interest in the circles of serious crimes committed throughout the province which terrorized communities. Some of these offences include murder, attempted murder, business robberies, house robberies, car hijackings theft of motor vehicles, ATM bombings.

In the morning of the said Friday when information regarding the whereabouts of the suspects was obtained, members did not hesitate to act as part of their mandate to ensure that those who are alleged to be involved in criminal activities are swiftly brought to book. From 10h00 am members began by cornering and arresting three suspects and recovered a firearm. This was followed by the arrest of the other seven that were arrested respectively on different times and at various spots. The firearms with ammunition were seized from the suspects. The suspects were charged for various offences including for murders, armed robberies, business robberies, unlawful possession of firearms with ammunition, possession of suspected stolen properties. Some of the properties found in the possession of the suspects include two mobile phones that were taken from deceased victims who were allegedly robbed and sadly murdered.

Interestingly, during the operation the astute members cornered a suspect who was admitted in hospital after being shot whilst allegedly committing crime but reportedly identified himself to the medical personnel using a false name. He too could not escape from the long arm of the law as he was arrested by the said team after discovering his real identity through investigation which directed the members accordingly. This particular suspect could also face additional charges of fraud with regard to the incorrect details he provided to the hospital officials as the investigation continues.

Nine (out of 10) suspects are expected to appear in the Middelburg Magistrate's Court tomorrow, Monday 13 March 2023 facing various charges meanwhile the tenth suspect will appear in court as soon as he recovers.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Major General Zeph Mkhwanazi has expressed his gratitude to the professional manner in which the team responded and executed the operation. "The Police are indeed serious about preventing and fighting crime from every corner in which it raises its ugly head. Those recovered firearms will surely undergo ballistic testing to determine whether they were not utilized in commission of crime and if be, then more charges will be added against the suspects" said the General.