Policewoman a suspect in church attack

| May 11, 2010

A Durban policewoman is thought to be the leader of a gang of four who robbed a group of people at prayer early on Monday.

The woman and three men were arrested soon after the incident, which happened at an Umlazi school.

The incident, which left two churchgoers with serious injuries, happened at around 2am.

Metro police spokeswoman Senior Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said that about 60 people were attending a religious service in a classroom at Naleni High School when four gun- and knife-wielding robbers entered.

The gang selected a few people from the group, took them outside, and assaulted and robbed them of their belongings.

Some of the victims fought back, prompting the robbers to strike at them.

One robber fired several shots, one of which seriously wounded one of the congregants, and two were stabbed before the gang fled.

Cash, cellphones and purses were stolen, said Khuzwayo.

She said metro police officers had been patrolling the area when they heard a loud bang and decided to investigate.

"They followed the direction where the sound had come from and came across some members of the congregation, who informed them of the robbery," said Khuzwayo.

The metro police dog unit was given a description of the gang and a police dog was soon on the scent. The dog sniffed out one of the men in a nearby bush.

The man took the police to a nearby shebeen to identify the other suspects, who were all arrested.

The female gang member was wearing a jersey with bloodstains on it from being hit with a stick by one of the worshippers during the earlier skirmish.

"She told our officers that she was a full member of the South African Police Force, based at Brighton Beach Police Station. However, they were all arrested and detained at Umlazi Police Station," said Khuzwayo.

SAPF spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the four would face charges of attempted murder, assault and robbery.

He said they would appear in court on Tuesday or Thursday, and that investigations had yet to establish whether the gun used in the incident was the woman's state-issued firearm.

"Police are custodians of the law, they can't be seen on the other side. Anyone who is found on the wrong side will face the consequences," he warned.



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Category: Church Security

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