Three men suspected of killing two others in an alleged gang-related murder spree in Port Elizabeth at the weekend have been arrested.
The men will appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court today on charges of murder, abduction and arson.
Mohamed Abdulla, 40, and Deon Matheyse, 41, were killed in separate attacks less than three hours apart on Saturday.
Police suspect that the gunmen – believed to be members of the Spot-bouers gang – were searching for a high-ranking member of the 26s prison gang, believed to be known to both of the victims.
Within seven hours of Matheyse’s murder, all three suspects had been arrested by the specialist Gang Investigation Unit, which launched a joint manhunt with Crime Intelligence, the Visible Gang Intervention Unit, Public Order Policing and the Air Wing.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the shootings were linked and that both victims had been executed in the trio’s quest to find a particular person.
By yesterday afternoon, it was still not known why the person was being hunted, but several sources linked to the police operation confirmed that the suspects’ target had been a senior member of the 26s gang.
Abdulla’s body was found by a passer-by in the open field in Bramlin Markman Road in Malabar at about 9.30am on Saturday.
“Abdulla sustained a gunshot wound to his face,” Naidu said.
“According to information, he was abducted earlier from his house in Schauder ville by the three suspects.”
“The house, which he was renting, was set alight and completely gutted.”
By 11.40am, the three men had confronted Matheyse and two friends sitting in a shack at the back of a house in Lawler Street, Schauderville.
“They were assaulted and Matheyse was shot in the stomach. The other two managed to escape,” Naidu said.
She said Abdulla, Matheyse and the other two had been beaten for information relating to the whereabouts of the man the three were searching for.
A manhunt was launched shortly after midday and the suspects, aged 21, 23 and 31, were arrested at about 6.30pm while driving in a VW Polo in the Algoa Park area, Naidu said.