Six suspected illegal miners have died in a shoot-out with the police specialised task force in the North West.

Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said the incident happened in Orkney on Wednesday night. Mogale said eight suspects were wounded while 87, aged between 25 and 49, were apprehended during the “intelligence-driven operation”.

“It is reported that upon execution of information received, the multidisciplinary team comprising the Hawks, task force, national intervention unit, district crime combating unit, North West Airwing, explosives unit, Bidvest Protea Coin Security and the local criminal record centre descended upon the identified shaft where they were met with the suspects’ gunfire,” said Mogale.

“The team returned fire wherein eight suspects were wounded, six fatally, while 87 were arrested.  One member of the team was wounded.  The wounded suspects were taken to hospital under police guard.”

Mogale said the team seized two minibuses, mining paraphernalia, gold-bearing material, 11 firearms and bags of food.

“The suspects will appear in the Orkney magistrate’s court on Monday October 25 on charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of gold,  illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of prohibited firearms, theft and conspiracy to commit an offence,” said Mogale.


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