Pretoria – A gang of about 25 gunmen from KwaZulu-Natal, Zimbabwe and Botswana were intercepted by police while planning a cash-in-transit heist in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.
The confrontation happened in Rosettenville, a suburb in the south of Johannesburg and left 10 suspects dead and another eight arrested.
Police had earlier said eight suspects were killed, but the police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, said at least 10 people had been killed in the shootout.
Ipid spokesperson Grace Langa, who was at the crime scene after the police watchdog took over, said five police officers were injured and a further two had to be airlifted to hospital.
Police Minister Bheki Cele who went to the scene shortly after the shooting unfolded, said police are on the hunt for the remaining suspects.
Cele confirmed their nationalities during a media briefing.
He described the suspects as heartless saying they were prepared to kill.
“The suspects shot and injured a pilot in a helicopter, before anybody did anything to them,” he said.
According to provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, police had placed the suspects under surveillance since last week.
On Monday, the suspects noticed that they were being followed and decided to rush to their safe house.
“There was money which they were observing and they were going to hit it, but our members said prevention is better than cure,“ Mawela said.
Police recovered five stolen vehicles which were used by the suspects, AK47s with double magazines and R4s. There was also explosives and petrol.
Another firearm was found on the freeway after the suspected robbers threw it out of the window when they were chased by police.