M1 closed following a gun battle between cops and robbers

Motorists have been advised to avoid the M1 highway between Booysens and Xavier roads in the south of Johannesburg following a shootout between cops and suspected cash-in-transit heist robbers on Wednesday night.

One of the suspected robbers was left dead and two others were arrested. A police officer is recovering in hospital after he was hit during a gun battle.

Police have since launched a manhunt for two members of the group who managed to escape.


Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the security guards, who were robbed, had just picked up money from various outlets.

They were on their way back to their base when the robbers pounced, disarmed them, and bombed the cash van.

According to Mathe, the suspects got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

“Gauteng police immediately operationalised information and maximum resources were mobilised,” said Mathe.

“Vigilant members attached to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation and the Johannesburg Flying Squad traced the suspects at 8.20pm on the M1 south just before the Booysens off-ramp.

“A shootout ensued with the suspects who were travelling in a Toyota Quantum. One suspect was certified dead at the scene while two others were apprehended.


“Three rifles were recovered and cash and two cellphones have been seized.”

At the scene, police found three assault rifles, cellphones and empty cash bags.

Meanwhile, acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Tebello Mosikili, commended the swift reaction by the police.

“Well done to the team for the swift reaction, we continue to deal decisively with serious and violent crime in various provinces,” said Mosikili.

“We continue to take down syndicates and groups involved in these crimes, either they surrender or we will continue to hunt and take them down. A speedy recovery to our member who is in hospital.”

Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson Xolani Fihla said the police are still processing the scene and traffic travelling on the M1 north is being diverted at Xavier Street, and traffic travelling from M1 south is being diverted on Booysens Road.

“Motorists are urged to be aware of the closures,” said Fihla.

 

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