Police in South Africa on Friday killed 18 suspected robbers during a shootout in Limpopo Province.
According to National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola, the suspects were planning a cash-in-transit (CIT) heist.
Speaking on Friday from the crime scene in Makhado, Masemola said the suspects were responsible for similar crimes in other provinces. He said:
We do believe this syndicate has been involved in a number of CITs in this province, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
Masemola said one police officer was “injured very seriously” in the shootout, which lasted about 90 minutes.
In a statement, the South African Police Service (SAPS), said an investigation began in January with the help of the country’s intelligence unit, and the police had been tracking the suspects’ movements for a few days. Part of the statement reads:
As soon as police approached the address, the group of suspects began shooting, and police retaliated. Sixteen males and two females were declared dead at the scene.
Masemola said that police intended “to arrest them before they go out and commit the crime”.
Cash truck heists happen regularly in South Africa, and in 2022, 10 suspects died during a cash-in-transit shootout with police.
The would-be robbers had fired at a police helicopter and wounded one of the pilots.