Five suspects denied bail after cop fatally wounded in robbery

handcuffsFIVE of six suspects accused of being involved in the fatal shooting of an off-duty Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) police officer during an armed robbery in Cala last Friday, have been denied bail in the Cradock Magistrate’s Court.

Acting provincial commissioner major-general Zamuthango Mki, said six gunmen allegedly entered the grocery store at about 6.30pm and demanded money firing shots at the same time.

“An off-duty police constable who was at the store was fatally wounded and robbed of his state firearm. One suspect was killed [on the scene] and a firearm confiscated. An undisclosed sum of money was taken.”

Hawks provincial spokesman captain, Anelisa Feni, said four of the suspects were arrested on Saturday following an intelligence-driven operation by the unit, in conjunction with Komani public order police (POP) and the Cradock K9 unit.

Feni said police had received information about the location of constable Gungqa’s service pistol and a roadblock was set up, leading to the arrests in Cradock.

The suspects, Feni said, were Masithembele Mbali, 37, Xolisile Maawu, 31, Simphiwe Mkheselele, 32, and 32-year-old Cingile Jamda, who appeared in the Cradock Magistrate’s Court. Two 9mm pistols were also seized.

“The fifth suspect, a 42-year-old man, was arrested between 1 and 2am on Monday by the members of the Ngcobo and Cala police stations in conjunction with the Komani POP. The suspect led the police to [Tsomo River where they] abandoned their getaway vehicle,” Feni said. The police were also led to another site where the body of a 36-year-old man was found. Mki said the SAPS management in the province expressed its deepest condolences to Gungqa’s family. “We will not be deterred in our determination to fight crime. We urge community members to work with us in sharing information about crime and the whereabouts of criminals.”

Anyone with information about the case can contact warrant officer Zamikhaya Nkampini on 071-481 2686.

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