'Arrest of Ngcobo suspects doesn't bring peace to families'

Seven suspects were killed and 10 others arrested in connection with last week's murder of 5 police officers and a civilian at Ngcobo police station.

Forensic pathology officers at the scene where police officers were killed when armed men attacked the Ngcobo Police Station in the Eastern Cape on 21 February 2018. Picture: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Michael Pinyana

CAPE TOWN – A relative of one of the police officers who was gunned down at Ngcobo police station says the arrest of 10 suspects and the killing of seven more has not brought any peace to his family.

The suspects were killed in a shootout with police at a church in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape on Friday night.

Gunmen stormed the local police station last week, shooting dead several of the South African Police Service members inside. A passer-by was also gunned down outside the facility.

Two other officials were then shot dead.

Mthuthuzeli Swartbooi is a relative of slain constable Kuhle Mathetha:

“There was no joy because I remember my cousin telling me that he feels for the parents of those seven kids because they didn’t send their kids to kill.”

The church where seven suspects were killed in a shootout with the police remains sealed off as investigators comb the scene for further clues on a suspected cult there.

On Friday, police shot and killed seven men and arrested a further ten in the churchyard. It’s now reported the gang had planned to kill more officers.

Police have confirmed that firearms stolen during the murder of officers at the Ngcobo police station were recovered at the church at Nyanda village where a cult had been living.

Eyewitness News has been reliably informed that police recovered two shotguns two rifles and six 9mm pistols at the scene of Friday night's shootout at Nyanda village all of which were stolen from the Ngcobo police station.

It’s also understood that 43 male suspects were detained for questioning and 11 vehicles are being checked to see if they are linked to criminal activity.

It has been reported that 10 men who were arrested are members of the cult.

However, police spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga says this will be confirmed as the investigation continues.

The cop killings have drawn outrage.

“We want to again reiterate that this attack is a national tragedy," says chairperson of the police portfolio committee Francois Beukman.

"The SAPS members were in the prime of their lives and became victims of criminals, who do not value law and order is a society. The committee will meet with the national [police] commissioner in the next two weeks.”