Armed soldiers defy police orders

Tensions high as soldiers hold civilian at shooting range and refuse breathalysers

A tense four-hour standoff between police and two allegedly drunk soldiers armed with automatic rifles saw a potentially deadly shootout narrowly averted at Noordhoek.

The drama involved top brass from both the police and the Forest Hill Military Base – where the soldiers are stationed – being called to the scene on Sunday after the soldiers put their rifles on automatic and threatened to shoot if police stormed the gates to free a civilian allegedly being held against his will at the Cape Recife shooting range.

The two soldiers, who locked themselves behind the gates at the range, allegedly threatened to shoot the police officers if they entered the premises. After the situation was “neutralised”, the military base commander called to the scene allegedly hid the men in an attempt to stop police from taking alcohol samples and confiscating their weapons.

The range is used by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), but the site was last used during a joint training operation between the US and SA military in July last year.

-Gareth Wilson

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