Hunt for army heist suspects

The South African Police Services (SAPS) have vowed that they will leave no stone unturned in their search for five armed men who stormed the 9 South African Infantry Battalion Base near Town Two, a fortnight ago, making off with R4 rifles.

It has been widely reported that these man overpowered guards at the gate and entered the armoury guard room where they overpowered five more soldiers. They then forced them to open a safety box and took six rifles and ammunition.

Harare police station spokesperson, Captain Nosiphiwo Mtengwana confirmed to Vukani that the base had been robbed of rifles and that the suspects were still at large. No fatalities had been reported.

The incident, which occurred on Friday April 14, has raised questions about the fitness and ability of soldiers to protect the country.

Captain Mtengwana said a 40-year-old man believed to be a former member of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was taken in for questioning after the heist, but he was later released on the same day due to lack of evidence linking him to the incident.

She said they were appealing to anyone who might have information that could lead to the arrests of the suspect, to come forward. “One magazine and 10 rounds of bullets were also stolen,” she said.

A statement released by the Deputy Mminister of Police, Bongani Mkongi, condemned the attack on the soldiers, saying he was annoyed and furious with criminals who showed disrespect and disregard for law enforcement agencies. “We will not sleep. We will hunt these criminals down like wild dogs and make sure that they rot in jail like all hardened criminals who tried and failed to undermine the state and the Republic of South Africa,” he said.