Hawks in Eastern Cape launch manhunt for cop killers

SEPTEMBER 7, 2015

The Hawks in the Eastern Cape have launched a manhunt for cop killers after yet another police officer lost his life in a violent crime in Alice on Saturday. Ironically, the killing happened while President Jacob Zuma was addressing a sombre audience at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, marking the annual SA Police Service (SAPS) National Commemoration Day in honour of police officers killed in the line of duty.

Sergeant Xola Sowambi, 35 years, was found with a bullet wound to his head.

According to Eastern Cape police, he was shot en-route to report for duty on Saturday at Fort Beaufort Police Station.

When he did not arrive and his family confirmed that he had indeed left for work, a search operation, including  K9 members, immediately commenced.

"His body was discovered on Sunday morning in an orange field next to the R67 road between Fort Beaufort and Seymour. He was dressed in police uniform and his wallet and official firearm were recovered in close vicinity from where his body was found," the police said.

"Preliminary investigations point to a possible hijacking as his vehicle, a Blue VW Polo, was found on Saturday evening  in Whittlesea, when it was stopped by the local police and two unknown males were seen running away from the vehicle and managed to successfully escape into a nearby forest."

Inside a car, police seized a laptop, which has since been linked to a hijacking of an earlier hijacking in Hogsback, last week Friday.  That vehicle was found smashed in Hogback and the robbers needed Sonwabi's car as that one was no longer drivable.

The Hawks are investigating the murder.

“We are indeed very shocked by the murder of  Sergeant Xola Sowambi and express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Our hearts go out to his loved ones and we will remember them in our prayers,” said Lt Gen Celiwe Binta this morning.

“I request  communities to work with us, in sharing information about crime and the whereabouts of criminals to ensure that we deal swiftly and harshly with murderers in our communities.”

The Acting National Head of the Directorate For Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza said; “Hardly a day has passed commemorating our fallen heroes we mourning another death.  This is not acceptable, I have assembled a team of high level detectives to probe this murder. 

"There will be no rest until we find who is responsible.  My condolences to the family and I want to assure them that we will do everything in our power to arrest the suspects which will bring the family one step closer to closure."