A group of armed men, who allegedly committed a business robbery and then went to a traditional healer’s residence for cleansing and protection, were arrested by police.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said seven robbers entered a business premises at the Upper Tugela in the Bergville area and robbed employees of an undisclosed amount of cash on Tuesday at around 8am. They drove away in their getaway vehicles.
“Okhalamba police received information that the suspects, who were travelling in two vehicles, were seen at a traditional healer’s residence, for cleansing and protection.
“Police proceeded to the traditional healer’s homestead in KwaDukuza, where they spotted the said vehicle and approached the suspects.
“The suspects spotted police, ran towards the Woodstock dam and jumped inside. Five suspects were arrested in the river and two suspects were arrested at the homestead.”
Mbele said police also seized a 9mm pistol and folded packet from a security company at the traditional healer’s place of residence.
“Police divers are currently searching for the bag containing cash and firearms that were thrown by the suspects as they were fleeing the scene.”
Mbele said the suspects might also be linked to two robberies, one in Ladysmith and the other in Winterton.
“It is alleged that on 5 July, 2021 at 12.35pm, a group of armed men entered a shop on Springfield Road in Winterton and demanded cash and cellphones from the employees.
“At gunpoint, they removed cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash before they fled in their getaway bakkie. A case of robbery was opened at the Winterton police station for investigation.”
Mbele said the third robbery also took place on July 5 at around 5.50pm.
“It is alleged security guards were travelling along the R616 when an unknown vehicle blocked their path of travel. The occupants of the said vehicle shot at the security vehicle and, as a result, three tyres burst.
“The suspects instructed the security guard to open the door and deprived him of his service firearm. The security guard heard a loud explosion and he observed the suspects removing cash from the vehicle.
“Thereafter. suspects sped off in their getaway vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash. A case of robbery was opened at Ladysmith police station for investigation.”
Mbele said the men, aged between 30 and 40, would appear in court soon on charges of robbery and illegal possession of firearms.