Police have killed seven suspects in a shootout at a house in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.
One of the suspects is believed to be part of a group that escaped from custody earlier this year.
Police say some of those shot were responsible for a violent crime spree in various suburbs of Pietermaritzburg.
No police officers were injured in the shootout.
Police minister Beki Cele arrived at the scene on Tuesday evening at 6.40pm. Addressing the media outside the house where the shootout took place, he said AK47s were among the guns found there. He said the gang had been living the high life with cognac and expensive liqour, enormous TV’s and a couple of cars that are believed to have been stolen.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said earlier seven people were killed in a shootout between police and a security company. She said one of the dead had been among those who escaped in a mass breakout from a police van last month.
Mbhele said police were tipped off that a notorious gang had been living in the house. “They have been renting the house since the beginning of May. When the suspects noticed the police, they started shooting and there was an exchange of fire,” said Mbhele. She said two of the dead were women and that about six firearms were found there.
The shoot-out happened in the Fairfield Avenue area. Chirag Beekrum who lives in a nearby house said he was coming from Hayfields Mall when he heard gunshots.
“When I heard the first four I thought they were warning shots but after I heard more I figure there was an altercation,” Beekrum said.
He said the house where the incident happened had been vacant for three months. Another resident said she had heard the prisoners that had escaped, broke into the house, and had been living there for the past two weeks.