South Africa: Police Launch Urgent Investigation After Firearms Found Abandoned At Baragwanath Hospital Is Confirmed to Be Stolen State Firearms

press release

Police on Sunday afternoon, 20 September 2020 responded to a report of three firearms found abandoned at a section that is under renovation at the Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

Preliminary investigations have already revealed that all three firearms belong to the State and had been reported stolen in March and April this year. The one firearm was reported stolen from the Johannesburg Central police living quarters in March 2020, while the other two were allegedly stolen in April 2020 from two offices during a break in at Hillbrow SAPS. No suspect has been arrested thus far.

Among the items found with the firearms are live ammunition, and SAPS uniform and operational items.

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has sanctioned an urgent investigation into the discovery of these stolen state firearms that were reportedly found abandoned at Baragwanath Hospital, ordering the immediate centralisation of the initial cases by the Detectives.

"The alleged abandonment of these firearms at such an important health facility is in no way innocent. It is clear that had the stolen state firearms not been found, they were intended to be used during the commission of crime where innocent victims would have been killed or injured," cited the Provincial Commissioner, urging police to intensify efforts to recover illegal firearms and remove them from the streets.

Lieutenant General Mawela has also reminded all members of law enforcement agencies to prioritise their safety during this Police Safety Month and beyond, and to also ensure the safekeeping of their state issued firearms as criminals have proven that they will not hesitate to attack and/or kill police officers to either get the firearm or remove police who represent an obstruction to their criminal activities.

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