THE police watchdog has been tasked to investigate the elite Tactical Response Team after members allegedly beat a Somali citizen to death and robbed a shop in Kulati Street, Kwazakhele, at about 8pm on Wednesday.
Osman Nuur Mohamed, 39, died of broken ribs, internal bleeding and blunt trauma to the head while in police custody at the Kwazakhele police station. This was shortly after the eight team members raided the Small Pot Supermarket where Mohamed worked.
Police say they received a tip- off about a stolen firearm hidden in the shop, but four store employees who witnessed the attack refute this claim.
Security guard Tambo Chemanch said he had closed and locked the doors when a “skelm” came running up and tried to enter the store.
“Then we heard banging and kicking on the front door,” employee Jamal Kalief Adan said. “Only after they kicked the door open did we see it was police officers in uniform. They ran inside pointing guns at everyone, telling us not to move.
“They brought Mohamed from the back of the shop and threw him on the ground. All the officers jumped on his head and chest and kicked him repeatedly. One grabbed a stick and hit him on the head while another officer threw a bucket of water on him. They then grabbed a big blanket, rolled him in it and carried him out to the police minibus,” he said.
Store employee Alli Abdul Omaar alleged a female officer had also taken about R3000 from the till. “I was hiding behind the till when they came in and a woman pointed a gun at me and told me to lie on the ground,” he said. “She came around to the till and went through everything, saying she was looking for a gun. I saw her take the money.”
Somali Association spokesman Suleiman Hussein said the community was extremely angry about the “murder of an innocent man” and demanded justice.
“The post-mortem shows he had internal bleeding, his ribs were broken and his kidneys bleeding,” he said. “He also had head injuries.”
Provincial Independent Compaints Directorate head advocate Sakhele Poswa said: “We will conduct the investigation as it appears he did not die of natural causes.”
The task team was the brainchild of national police chief Bheki Cele, who established teams across the country in 2009 to combat rampant crime levels.
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