South Africa: Alexandra Residents Call On Police to Arrest Officer After Bystander Killed During Shootout With Hijackers

A witness has described how he initially thought it was firecrackers going off when police and alleged hijackers started firing at each other in Alexandra on Wednesday. Bystander Samantha Mathane Radebe was shot dead in the incident and a man was injured.

Happy Ndobe was driving with his friend in the area on January 15, when the shooting started.

"We were driving from Tsutsumani section. As we approached London Road, there was a Toyota Avanza taxi and Audi sedan ahead of us. The Audi was driving very slowly, while the Avanza which had passengers was following it.

"As we were driving, I then heard gunshots. At first, I thought they were firecrackers and I then saw a young boy running. Fortunately, I was opposite a filling station, I then drove there to take cover and the taxi followed us.

"We jumped out of the vehicle and saw that the Audi had stopped. A police van stopped in front of the Audi," Ndobe said.

Later, a white VW golf arrived and parked near the Audi.

He initially thought the shooting was a hijacking scene.

"As I went closer, a man was lying on the ground, his hands were handcuffed from the back. Later I heard that a woman and a man have been shot. If I knew that it was Radebe, I would have gone to her and helped, since we knew each other," said Ndobe.

Alexandra police spokesperson Captain Stephen Malatji said police were doing their routine patrol duties along Lenin Road, when they spotted a reported hijacked car at the Gautrain station.

"Police tried to stop the car, but a suspect pulled out a firearm and shot at the police, who retaliated and eventually a suspect was arrested.

"Then in the aftermath, it was discovered that two bystanders were caught by bullets in the crossfire. A lady casualty died on the scene, while a male was critically wounded.

"The suspect and police firearms were all booked in for forensics investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to establish which of the firearms were responsible for wounds sustained by the bystanders," said Malatji.

Residents of Alexandra have accused one of the police officers of deliberately shooting at the bystanders.

On Thursday evening, they marched to the Alexandra police station demanding that an officer attached to the station's specialised unit be arrested.

"The death of Radebe has left the community of Alexandra reeling and shocked at the death of this young person in cold blood by police officers from Alexandra police station.

"I condemn and call for the immediate arrest of the infamous butcher of innocent children, and his colleagues. The senseless shooting and reckless discharging of a firearm in public areas by these officers is known and renowned in the countless murders that they have been implicated in," said ward councillor Tefo Raphadu.

IPID acting spokesperson Sontaga Seisa confirmed that they were investigating the incident.

"IPID is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of the deceased. At this point in time we don't know as to whether the police firearm is the one that killed the deceased, because it is alleged both the police and the suspects discharged their firearms," he said.

Seisa said no police officers had been arrested so far. The hijacking suspect is expected to appear in court soon.

Source: News24

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