Three hijackers were killed during a heavy gun battle with police following a high-speed car chase on the N3 in Hammarsdale on Tuesday night.
The shoot-out saw officers and three gunmen trading salvoes after the speeding car in which they were travelling was forced from the road.
The hail of bullets is understood to have continued as the gunmen ran from the car into a roadside field. When police dogs were released, they found the bodies of the three suspects lying spread out on an embankment – all felled by police gunfire.
Police spokesperson Jay Naicker said that the hijacking had set into motion a chain of events that culminated in the gun battle.
He said that shortly after noon on Tuesday, a Chinese national had been on the R33 Greytown Road in New Hanover, outside Pietermaritzburg.
“He was hijacked by occupants of two other cars who fired several shots and threatened him with a firearm. The victim was kidnapped and dropped nearby. The police followed the suspects towards Umsunduzi police patrol area where they arrested two men and seized two pistols and 30 rounds of live ammunition. The car used by the hijackers was recovered and seized by police as well,” he said.
Several hours later, police officers traced a car they thought to have been used in the New Hanover carjacking. “Police were following a silver VW Jetta with five occupants and when the blue lights and sirens were turned on they sped away,” Naicker added.
“They managed to force the vehicle to the side of the road and blocked it in before the suspects ran from the car and started firing towards the police officials and the police retaliated.”
Naicker said that two handguns were found lying near the bodies of the dead hijackers and that police officers involved in the action had emerged unscathed.