Johannesburg – The number of would-be robbers killed during a foiled cash heist in South Africa rose to 10, the police watchdog said on Monday, in one of the country’s deadliest shootouts in recent years.
Police Minister Bheki Cele had earlier reported that police killed eight suspects planning to attack a vehicle carrying cash.
But the country’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson, Grace Langa, updated the toll to 10, with five police officers wounded.
Police acted on a tip-off and deployed a helicopter to fend off a planned cash-in-transit robbery in southern Johannesburg’s suburb of Rosettenville.
The suspects fired at the police chopper and wounded one of the pilots, forcing police to shoot back.
“They shot the helicopter before anybody did anything to them,” Cele told reporters at the scene of the crime. “They shot the pilot.”
The minister said a gang of about 25 gunmen from the southeastern KwaZulu-Natal province as well as from neighbouring Zimbabwe and Botswana were involved in the attempted robbery.
[WATCH] Police Minister Bheki Cele confirms that 8 cash-in-transit suspects have been killed in the #RosettenvilleShootout. He says this is a group of 25 criminals, with 8 suspects arrested and 9 are still on the run.
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) February 21, 2022
Eight of the surviving gang members were arrested and the rest are on the run, he said.
Robbers often target vehicles transporting cash in crime-ridden South Africa.
Police last week reported that 60 cash-in-transit robberies were committed between October and December 2021, a slight drop from the same period in 2020.