Five people arrested at Kliprivier near Johannesburg may have links to the New Year’s Day attacks in Melville and Mary Fitzgerald Square, Johannesburg, which left three people dead, as well as to “extremist crimes” in other provinces.
The New Year’s Day drive-by shootings in Melville, Johannesburg, left three people dead and five wounded. At the same time there were shootings at Mary Fitzgerald Square in central Johannesburg that left 11 people wounded.
SAPS said the arrests took place in a pre-dawn intelligence-driven raid today by members of various units of the South African Police Service and the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks).
According to SAPS they “swooped in on an alleged kidnapping syndicate” at the house in Kliprivier.
The SAPS Intelligence team had been following leads on the kidnapping of an Indian National who was abducted earlier this month. This intelligence led the integrated multi-disciplinary team to the Kliprivier house where a total of five men, two of which are of foreign nationality, were arrested. Three of these men are likely to be charged with kidnapping while the other two, possibly for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The investigation team also recovered foreign military uniform, several firearms including rifles and pistols, some of which were buried in the garden on the same property. Some of the long guns include two AK 47 rifles, one uzzi submachine gun, and two pump action shot guns.
The owner of the house is currently on the run and the kidnapped victim has not yet been found, said SAPS in a statement on Thursday evening.
During his visit to the crime scene today, the National Commissioner of the SAPS praised the team for their hard work and perseverance citing kidnapping and the proliferation of firearms and ammunition as one the priorities of the South African Police Service.
“This is great work,” General Sitole said to the team, “but the job is not done yet. We must continue with our efforts to trace and arrest the owner of the house and anybody else linked to this group, but more importantly we must find and reunite the kidnapped victim safely with his family.”
Sitole said: “In the meantime, we are also investigating the possibility that this group may also be linked to (the) Melville drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day this year.”
SAPS encourages anyone who has any more information on this matter to contact the SAPS on our Crime Stop number 08600 10111. Information may also be communicated via the MySAPSApp. All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous.