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2023/07/06      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 05 July 2023 - An alleged male suspect (51) was fatally shot during a shootout with SAPS members from National Intervention Unit (NIU). The incident is said to have occurred at Barberton in the early hours of today, Wednesday 05 July 2023.

Police report indicates that members of the police were following up on information regarding a person in possession of explosives. At around 04h00 am, the members are said to have proceeded to a certain house in Barberton and upon arrival at the premises, the members reportedly identified themselves as police officers.  However, it is said that they made several attempts to be let in but without any response then as they forced their way in through the gate. The men and women in Blue even switched on blue lights outside to show that they were police officers whilst shouting that they are police officers.

It was not long before shots were fired from the house, directed at members. Members had to take cover but still continued to announce that they are SAPS members. According to a report, their efforts were ignored as they were subjected to hail of bullets. Members had no other option but to engage in the shootout which resulted in the shooting of a man who was firing shots from the house. He reportedly sustained some injuries.

When the dust had settled, police summoned for paramedics so that he could receive treatment however the man succumbed to his injuries.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was notified and they will be conducting an investigation regarding the shooting incident.

It is worth noting that Nelspruit Explosives Section were also summoned to the scene, and besides a 9 mm pistol as well as some cartridges for a pistol and for a rifle that were recovered next to the man's body, police found some exlposives devices, about 19 detonating capped fuse (Dura fuse) as well as about 20 detonating cartridges inside the man's house. From these items the Police are more convinced that the alleged suspect could have been the person that they were looking for in their investigation of explosives that were unlawfully stored in the house.

In addition to the fatal shooting of the man, an investigation will also focus on the attempt murder of Police officials, contravention of Section 28(1)of the Explosives Act, Act 26 of 1956 and illegal possession of explosives. The confiscated firearm will also be a subject of the investigation.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has used the incident to highlight the fact that the province has previously experienced a lot of ATM bombings, drop-in-safe bombings whereby in such incidents, explosives were often used by suspects. "It is very alarming when you constantly have such incidents where businesses as well as cash vans are attacked left and right. This has prompted us to be proactive to ensure that this tendency comes to an end. We are hopeful that at the end we will emerge victorious" said the General.