A criminal with links to the fatal shooting of a KwaZulu-Natal police officer has been nabbed, while his accomplice was shot and killed during their arrest this weekend, officials said on Sunday.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said various police teams confronted a heavily armed criminal gang in Nhlawe, Weenen on Saturday.
"The men resisted attempts to arrest them and a shoot-out ensued. A 28-year-old suspect was fatally wounded during the exchange of gun fire while a 21-year-old suspect was placed under arrest."
Naicker said police seized two AK-47 rifles, an R5 rifle, an air gun and 101 rounds of ammunition at the scene.
He added that initial investigations indicated that the 21-year-old was "positively linked" to the May 11 murder of off-duty police officer, Constable Nkosinathi Khumalo, 35, who was shot and killed at Estcourt.
After Khumalo was shot, he was dragged out of his vehicle and his killers fled with his car.
Naicker said the arrested man would appear at the Weenen Magistrates Court on Monday.
KZN police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula hailed the breakthrough in Khumalo's case.
"The arrest and recovery of these firearms are evident that police officers in this province are closing in on criminal gangs who commit serious crimes in the false belief that they can evade law enforcement. These types of operations are going to be intensified so that we break this vicious cycle of serious and violent crimes in KZN," he said.