By Ngqwele Dube and Mvelo Zondo
A suspected armed robber was shot dead on Friday night in Esigodini after attempting to attack police details who were effecting an arrest on him.
The suspected robber, identified as Mbekezeli Nxumalo (38) of Ntabende Village under Chief Sigola in Esigodini, was shot dead after pulling out a machete from a vehicle and attempting to attack police. Nxumalo was in the company of Gracious Moyo (35) and Prince Mpofu (21) of the same village when they were approached by police but his accomplices surrendered while Nxumalo sought to attack the security detail.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident yesterday. Asst Comm Nyathi said police received a report of a robbery on Friday morning from a female complainant who said she had been accosted by four men in a black Toyota Corolla who robbed her of two cellphones, a Mobicell and Itel A56, a torch, a hand pump and an amplifier, all worth US$395.
“Police went to search for the suspects and as they were at Ntabende Business Centre they met the second complainant, a man who gave them the description of the same vehicle and said he had been robbed of US$1 300 and R250 in cash, a gold scale, a torch, a Hisense cellphone, a Tecno phone, a Huawei phone, a solar light and a gold scale,” he said.
Assistant Comm Nyathi said police continued their search and came across the described vehicle at night but the suspects took off upon being confronted by police. He said officers gave chase and shot the rear left tyre, forcing the vehicle to stop.
“Upon stopping, two suspects disembarked from the vehicle with their hands up and as the police approached the vehicle the driver emerged with a machete in his hand, leading the police to shoot him and he died on the spot,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Police recovered the vehicle, car registration vehicle number AAU 3360, which Asst Comm Nyathi said turned out to be a fake plate as a search confirmed it was for another vehicle. Police also recovered was a machete, axe, catapult, a nine-pound hammer and a chisel, which are believed to have been used to commit various crimes.
According to community members who talked to Sunday News, the two arrested suspects revealed they were operating with a fourth suspect who is still at large and is the one who took possession of the stolen property.
They said there had been a worrying trend of crime in the area in the past five days that has seen a number of criminal acts being committed that included rape, assault, armed robbery and attempted murder.
Community leader Mr Luckson Mnkandla of Ntabende Village said they were happy with the apprehension of the suspects as there had been an upsurge in the number of violent crimes taking place within the area.
“Several villagers have been victims of the armed robberies and it was a worrying trend for us. We hope the police manage to deal with these criminals as people were now afraid to even stay in their own homes,” he said. The Sunday News