Alleged cop killers nabbed
Four men accused of gunning down a police officer in Coffee Bay earlier this week have been arrested.
The suspects, aged between 22 and 37, were nabbed on Friday after an intelligence-driven operation by the Hawks, crime intelligence and the national intervention unit.
The arrests were confirmed by Hawks provincial spokesperson Capt Anelisa Ngcakani.
Constable Lonwabo Soga, 26, was killed in Zindidi village, Coffee Bay, on Tuesday.
Ngcakani said the 37-year-old suspect was arrested in Mqanduli and the three others were arrested in Mthatha.
They are expected to appear in the Coffee Bay Magistrate’s Court on Monday, in connection with charges of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
“The team recovered six unlicensed firearms, including the one belonging to the deceased member which was stolen during the incident, as well as ammunition,” Ngcakani said.
“An assortment of police equipment including handcuffs, a reflector jacket and a hand radio were found.”
Soga was on duty when he was attacked alongside Constable Siyabonga Nani.
“Cst Soga, who was the driver of the police vehicle, was approached by two of the men, while Cst Nani was approached by the other two as he sat on the passenger’s side.
“One of the suspects standing at the passenger’s side drew his firearm and shot at Cst Soga, who died instantly.
“The suspects then ordered Cst Nani, who was not armed, to remove the body of Cst Soga from the driver’s seat to the back of the state vehicle.
“Cst Nani was then forced to get inside the back of the state vehicle,” Ngcakani said.
The attackers then drove to a nearby shop where a security guard was forced to open the gate and they allegedly demanded R3,000, liquor and tobacco before fleeing with the shop owner’s Nissan Navara, which was later abandoned.
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation national head Godfrey Lebeya said: “The murder of our police is an attack on our nation. Therefore, we will ensure that all those who commit this crime are brought face to face with justice.”
National police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said national commissioner of police, Gen Khehla Sitole, welcomed the speedy arrest of the suspects less than three days after Soga was gunned down.