Robbery foiled in shootout drama

A SHOOTOUT between police and robbers in Mthatha on Wednesday left a policeman injured, a gunman dead and another seriously injured.

It happened after a robbery at KFC in Owen Road at about 10pm.

The injured man was shot in front of the eatery and the other one was shot dead near the Mthatha Library. The policeman was also shot there.

“Four men pointed pistols at the Kentucky Fried Chicken cashiers and demanded money,” said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela.

“No one was shot during the robbery.”

Fatyela said the alarm was raised and police rushed to the scene within minutes.

“Fortunately members of the national intervention unit were in the vicinity .

“They came across the robbers and were greeted by gunfire from them. Police responded and one of the gang members was fatally wounded; another was injured. Unfortunately one of our members was shot in the leg,” said Fatyela.

He said both gunmen were from Payne Location and were 25 years old.

Several money bags stuffed with coins which had been tucked into a bucket were strewn along the road. A larger amount was found in a bag on the dead gunman.

“We believe all the stolen money was recovered,” said Fatyela.

Two pistols were also recovered .

The policeman and the injured gunman were rushed in two ambulances to Mthatha hospital.

“The injured suspect will be charged with armed robbery, attempted murder and possession of illegal weapons.

“He is under police guard. The other two armed men are still at large ,” said Fatyela. He said the suspects had clearly planned the robbery .

“The men arrived about 9pm and bought chicken, bread and cooldrinks and ate to pass the time. Then, as the business was about to close they stood up, drew their pistols and demanded cash.”

Retired businessman Ndzuzo Mashumi, 74, was still traumatised yesterday.

The suspects demanded his car keys at gunpoint. “It was very scary, like a movie. These young men sat there innocently and then out of the blue jumped up and pointed their guns demanding money.

“I think I was the only customer still left there waiting for my burgers. A young customer was pulled inside and ordered to lie still on the floor .

“One of the men pointed his gun at me and demanded my car keys, which I handed over. Apparently, they were going to use my bakkie as a getaway vehicle. As soon as they left we heard shooting.

“The police were there in less than five minutes. It is good to see police responding so quickly,” said Mashumi.

l Another suspect from the robbery was arrested after a shootout with police at the junction to Ngqeleni outside Mthatha at about 1pm yesterday .

“He was shot in the leg and police recovered a 9mm Norinco pistol with four live rounds.

“Now there is only one suspect still at large,” said Fatyela. —

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