Police station attack death toll rises

[caption id="attachment_239676" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The death toll in the attack on the Engcobo police station has risen to seven
Picture: Supplied[/caption]

The death toll in Wednesday morning’s execution-style attack on an Eastern Cape police station has risen to seven.

Expressing his condolences, Premier Phumulo Masualle confirmed that a sixth police officer had died in hospital.

Earlier, police said that three police officers had died in the execution-style attack on the police station in Ngcobo, between Mthatha and Queenstown. An off-duty soldier was also killed as the suspects fled.

The bodies of two more police officers were found about 6km away. It is not clear at this stage whether they were following the suspects from the police station or responding to the attack when they were killed.

The sixth officer died later in hospital.

“What is especially disturbing is the message that this attack is sending to our communities, who rely and depend on the police for their own protection in their streets and in their homes,’’ Masualle said.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric attack on our police officers and innocent souls, we also hasten to offer our heart-felt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this manner.’’

Eastern Cape commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga said: “No words can adequately express the profound grief, pain and heartache that I feel today on receiving news of this heinous act committed by ruthless, disrespectful, cruel and cold blooded killers.

“On behalf of the SAPS, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, relatives, friends and colleagues of our fallen heroes.”

While a motive for the attack has not yet been determined, national police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said: “We have established that the suspects have a robbed an ATM a short distance away from the police station, stolen 10 firearms as well as a police van from the station.”

Meanwhile candidate attorney Xola Nqola has shared his dismay at the brazen attack in which a family friend died.

“It turns out that the retired soldier killed in cold blood is from my village and an old friend to my father‚” Nqola shared on Facebook.

“It is sad‚ it is bad‚ no amount of prayer can salvage us from this.”

He shared a wish that “the masses of our own people will rise up . . . against [these types of] gruesome criminal activities”.

“An attack to the law enforcement institutions‚ is an attack to the safety and security of our communities‚” he commented.

“The narrative in the community is that criminal activities take place on a daily basis. But it’s crimes like stock theft and car hijackings‚ and other normal crimes‚ not attacks on police.

“This is a shock for the community.

“We now live in fear.

“If they can attack the people meant to protect the community‚ who are we? Who will we turn to?” said Nqola.

Nqola was less than impressed with the police ministry‚ saying “they should stop operating through statements‚ and they must come to the scene and bring solutions”.

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