Hunt on for ATM bombers

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pretoria - The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Crime Line have issued new photographs of the gang members responsible for a spate of ATM bombings.

The photos include at least four of the gang members responsible for a spate of ATM bombings, including the recent attack in Pimville, Soweto, during which a police officer was shot and killed, are clearly visible.

The latest pictures were captured on CCTV cameras during an attack on an ATM in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, this week.

It's suspected that the same gang of at least 10 men were responsible for the Soweto ATM bombing about two weeks ago. They used a white Isuzu bakkie. The gang was heavily armed.

"It appears that the same modus operandi was used in the latest ATM bombing in KZN. The Isuzu bakkie was abandoned after they attacked the ATM in Vryheid," said Gauteng police spokesman, Brigadier Neville Malila.

"Police now have four clear photographs of the suspects. We appeal to the public to please take a close look at their faces and come forward with information on their whereabouts," said Malila.

Detectives are working around the clock, following up on information and they believe that the release of the "fresh photos" will assist in bringing the criminals to book.

Police appealed to the community to also take a close look at the men's clothing as this could assist in identifying them.

Two weeks ago, the SAPS and Crime Line released CCTV footage of the Soweto bombing. One of the suspects has a limp.

"Information is coming in following the release of the initial CCTV footage, but we need more. Someone, somewhere, somehow knows these ATM bombers and cop killers. Do the right thing and come forward with information to Crime Line and / or Crime Stop," Malila added.

Detailed tip-offs should be sent to Crime Line's 32211 SMS service or online at www.crimeline.co.za. The public can also call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Police earlier said a R150 000 award was on offer to anyone who could provide information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Detectives suspect that the men travel frequently between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, but they could also be in other provinces.

"They are heavily armed, brazen, well organised and they are not afraid to kill if necessary," Malila said.

Head of Crime Line, Yusuf Abramjee has asked the public to ensure they give detailed information when submitting tip-offs.

"We want the who, what, when, where, why and how. However, we appeal to the public not to approach these men and to pass on information anonymously," he said.

"To qualify for the police reward, tipsters will have to volunteer their names and telephone numbers. We will ensure that the information is dealt with in the strictest confidence," said Abramjee.

He added that the public response to the release of the CCTV footage two weeks ago "was excellent."

On YouTube alone, there was some 7 000 views and thousands more have watched the footage on various media websites, including Crime Line, and the still pictures on television and in newspapers.

Abramjee has appealed to the community to take a close look at the latest pictures and to "stand up and make a difference."

"Let's get these thugs arrested without delay. They are continuing their crime spree and have no respect for law and order. We are confident that the public will be able to identify some if not all of them, which will lead to a breakthrough."

"Criminals can run, but they cannot hide. I remain confident that with the assistance from the public the police will squeeze the space for these criminals and get them behind bars," said the National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele.

"We buried the 33-year-old police reservist, Busisiwe Mehlwana, in Soweto on Saturday. Her children are motherless and we've lost a good crime fighter. Now we must do everything to get the killers arrested," Cele said.

He said the public should use Crime Line and Crime Stop to pass on information. "Please come forward."

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