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Four arrested as police seize illegal firearms in the former Transkei

Aug 13, 2019
Four arrested as police seize illegal firearms in the former Transkei

Mthatha - The Eastern Cape SAPS Provincial Commissioner's intervention under the auspices of Operation Stabilization aimed to fight proliferation of illegal weapons as well as violent stock theft and robberies prevalent in rural towns of former Transkei like Bityi, Bhaziya in Mthatha, Qumbu and Libode continue to make great progress in eliminating illegal weapons in these crime infested rural towns.

"Four male suspects aged 33-65 were arrested and seven illegal firearms that included R5 assault rifle, nine magazines, 78 rounds of ammunition and two holsters were confiscated in the past two days," said police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjen.

He said that the team comprises of Mdantsane and East London Tactical Response Team (TRT), Provincial Operation Response Services (ORS), Local Criminal Records Centre (LCRC) and Public Order Police Information (POPS).

"The Stabilization Team embarked on a search for illegal firearms at Blackhill, Mahlungulu and Qumbu CBD on Monday and yielded good results when a 38-year-old male suspect was arrested for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition, a Fly wheel with three rounds," Capt Tonjeni said.

"A second arrest at Blackhill, Qumbu, was a 65-year-old male who was charged for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition after he was found with a Luger 9mm Parabellum pistol with one magazine (47 live rounds) including two leather holsters."

He said that in another incident, during a stop and search at Bityi, members received information from a community member about a shooting that recently took place at a local tavern at Ematyeni Engqina locality.

"A certain man, known in the community, was alleged to have shot inside the tavern. A follow up was conducted and it led to the arrest of 33-year-old male suspect," Capt Tonjeni added.

"He was charged for unlawful possession of unlicensed firearm and shooting in a prohibited municipality area.

"A 9mm pistol with four rounds of live ammunition and one spent cartridge were also found at the tavern and confiscated. The two suspects are expected to appear at Mthatha Magistrate's Court on Wednesday."

Another search and seizure operation at about 01:40am on Tuesday, aimed to execute search warrants while following intelligence driven information about possession of unlicensed firearm at Gqibonco administrative Area, KwaTshapile locality, in the Dalasile area, led to arrest of a male suspect, aged 40.

"The suspect was arrested and charged for unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition after he was found in possession of an R5 assault rifle with magazine loaded with 24 rounds of ammunition," described Capt Tonjeni.

"The suspect is expected to appear at Ngcobo Magistrate's Court on Wednesday."

Lt Gen Ntshinga commended the members for the recovery and arrests.

"We must stamp our authority, disarm criminals and continue to remove dangerous weapons from illegal hands. Every firearm confiscated brings us closer to a dream of a safe and crime free Eastern Cape," she said.

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