Rifles, explosives recovered after deadly shootout on Benoni highway

Four alleged robbers killed after flying squad intercepted stolen silver Mercedes Benz E330

Johannesburg – Four dead suspected robbers, recovered rifles and explosives in the boot of a hijacked vehicle – this was the outcome of what started off as a routine patrol by the police’s flying squad in Benoni on Friday morning.

National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo said a shootout took place during peak hour traffic on the N12 highway, at the Putfontein off-ramp near the Luthuli informal settlement.

Members of the flying squad spotted a silver Mercedes Benz E330 that had been hijacked in Yeoville in April. They asked the driver to stop.

The occupants responded by opening fire on the police officers, forcing them to return fire.

"One of our members was shot in his leg and the four suspects in the Mercedes Benz were all shot dead."

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said they found two men with gunshot wounds lying in a vehicle. Two others with gunshot wounds were found lying a short distance away in the veld.

Meiring said two law enforcement officers sustained minor to moderate injuries.

According to Naidoo, ammunition, two R5 rifles and a Dashprod rifle were recovered.

"After further inspection, some explosives were also found in the boot of the Mercedes Benz. Various forensic experts, including the SAPS Explosives Unit are on the scene."

Naidoo said it was difficult to say at this stage what the heavily-armed men’s plan was, or where they were headed. This may come out during further investigation.

"We always encourage members to exercise maximum restraint, but members will have to respond depending on what situation they are confronted with."

Police wished their officers a speedy recovery.