The Gauteng Highway Patrol Unit arrested 19 suspected armed robbers in connection with the hijacking of a truck carrying a consignment of cellphones worth R60 million…

A security guard and a suspect were shot dead during the attack which occurred along Old Pretoria Road in Kelvin, Sandton, on Wednesday.

The truck driver and other occupants were approached by armed suspects who opened fire on them, said Gauteng police spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

She said 14 people had been arrested on the spot, but that a number of suspects had escaped by jumping the walls.

“Other members who were strategically positioned outside the house gave chase and five more suspects were cornered and arrested at five different locations in close proximity to the initial crime scene.”

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Peters said no police officers had been injured.

During the on-site investigation, officers discovered that one suspect had snatched a seven-month-old baby to possibly use as a shield during the shootout, Peters said. The child had since been found.

Peters added that preliminary investigations had linked the suspects to an earlier robbery in January, where police pounced on suspects at a house in Lombardy East, interrupting the suspected plotting of an aggravated robbery.

Two AK-47 rifles with loaded magazines, an R1 rifle with two loaded magazines, and two loaded pistols were recovered during the raid.

“An investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) is underway as police have reason to believe that these suspects could be behind a spate of business robberies, courier van robberies and cargo truck hijackings. Three R5 assault rifles, two AK-47 assault rifles, one .303 assault rifle, and four pistols were recovered from the six scenes.

“Meanwhile, four of the eight vehicles seized were positively confirmed as either hijacked or stolen. A jamming device was also seized from the suspects,” Peters said.

The firearms would be subjected to ballistic testing for possible linkages to other serious and violent crimes.

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said: “It is heartwarming to observe how, since the relaunching and receiving of a fleet of high powered vehicles from Gauteng provincial government, the HP Unit has hit the ground running, delivering significant successes on a daily basis, including the recovery of illegal firearms and patrolling of the freeways across the province.”



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