OR Tambo robbery shooting

OR Tambo International Airport. Image via: wikimedia commons

Mbalula: Three killed in OR Tambo international airport heist

The transport Minister condemned the shootout that took place at OR Tambo on Saturday, saying crime will not be tolerated.

OR Tambo robbery shooting

OR Tambo International Airport. Image via: wikimedia commons

Transport Minister FIkile Mbalula has condemned the harrowing incident that unfolded at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo international Airport on Saturday 18 July, in which armed men engaged in a shootout with authorities after staging a brazen cargo heist

Five of the nine suspects who stormed into the cargo warehouse at OR Tambo were arrested, with three people killed, and several others injured and in a serious condition.

Five arrested after OR Tambo heist

Mbalula condemned the incident, saying that three of the people who had lost their lives at the scene on Saturday afternoon were among the group of criminals who attempted to steal a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the depot. 

“Three suspects lost their lives, one is seriously wounded and five others have been arrested.”

“Officials intercepted the suspects and a shootout ensued. Three suspects lost their lives, one is seriously wounded, and five others have been arrested,” Mbalula said.

Mbalula said that during these difficult times in which law enforcement agencies should be occupying themselves with the task of enforcing COVID-19 lockdown regulations, criminals continue to engage in violent acts of crime.

“As the country unites to fight against the spread of COVID-19, it is clear that there remain a few criminal elements who are hell-bent on undermining the laws of the republic and putting the lives of law-abiding citizens at risk,” he said.

Civilian wounded in shootout  

South African Police Service (SAPS) Colonel Brenda Muridili confirmed the incident, saying that a civilian had also been injured during a dramatic exchange of bullets between police and the robbers. 

“At about 12:30 on Saturday, a group of suspects entered the cargo section at the OR Tambo airport and held the staff at gunpoint at one of the warehouses.”

“The manager of the warehouse noticed employees lying on the floor and immediately notified the police and airport security,” Muridili said.

She said that after the robbers had loaded up a truck with the cargo they had their eyes on, they took off, with a high-speed chase and shootout ensuing. 

“A high-speed chase and shootout resulted. Subsequently, seven suspects were arrested, four of them with gunshot wounds while two more suspects were shot dead. A civilian in the vicinity sustained a gunshot wound apparently by a stray bullet,” she said.