KZN Premier Sihle Zikala has slammed the attack on two nurses who were hijacked while on duty in a rural part of the province.
The nurses were carrying out their duties near Thornville on Friday morning when a gang of hijackers forced them off the road.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the hijacking and abduction of two nurses near Thornville on Friday morning. These nurses, aged 32 and 42, were part of the HIV/AIDS Roving Team from UMgungundlovu, and had been transporting ARVs for patients in the Hopewell area,” Zikalala said.
Nurses hijacked and robbed
“When they got to a remote part of the road, they came under attack from three armed men who were traveling in a white bakkie. The men blocked the nurses’ path, and forced them off the road, abducted them, and drove to a secluded area, where they took their valuables, including hand bags and cell phones, and then dumped them in a bush far away,” he said.
They then took off in the nurses’ state vehicle, a white Toyota Avanza.
“While we are grateful that the nurses were not physically harmed during this incident, it has nevertheless left them with psychological scars that will take some time to overcome,” he said.
Zikalala described the criminal act as “barbaric, shameful and cowardly”
“We urge any individuals who might have information about this incident to urgently contact the police, who will treat the information with utmost confidentiality,” Zikalala said.
Police kill three hitmen in shootout
In a separate incident in KZN on Friday police shot dead three gunmen who had earlier opened fire on the on a taxi that was travelling with a load of passengers.
KZN SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the taxi had been travelling from Bridge City in KwaMashu to Umzinyathi when the driver noticed another mini bus taxi following him.
“When the taxi reached the Umzinyathi area, the occupants of the second vehicle opened fire at the taxi laden with passengers.
The driver fled from scene and when he returned to the vehicle, he realised that five female passengers were wounded. The injured were conveyed to local health facilities to receive medical attention,” he said.
Police officers from the K9 Unit and Inanda SAPS who were deployed to the area heard the gunshots and immediately responded. The gunmen fled the scene closely pursued by police.
“The suspects opened fire at the police officers as they were fleeing and there was an exchange of gunfire. They eventually lost control of their vehicle at Emachobeni and the vehicle overturned into a ditch. Three hit men died on the scene as a result of gunshot wounds. It is suspected that others may have fled the scene after the vehicle came to a standstill,” he said.
Police recovered five firearms at the scene, including a rifle and shotgun. Police are investing a case of attempted murder.