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Two hijackers allegedly murder top cop who traced them after hijacking truck on the N3

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A top detective in the Free State has been shot dead, allegedly by two suspects who he traced after they hijacked a truck on the N3 in Villiers.

The two suspects are believed to have hijacked a truck on Friday setting up for a frantic search by the police.

Brig Athlenda Mathe said the duo were arrested within 24 hours of the murder of 48-year-old Warrant Officer Johannes du Rand, a detective commander at Villiers police station.

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“The two suspects are believed to be part of a gang who hijacked a truck along the N3 near Villiers on Friday.”

Mathe said Du Rand, who served the police force for 29 years, had traced the hijacked truck “but was sadly shot and killed by the armed suspects”.

Police national commission Gen Fannie Masemola led a delegation of senior officers to Du Rand’s home on Saturday to sympathise with his bereaved family.

Meanwhile police in Gauteng have launched a manhunt for two suspects after a 41-year-old police sergeant, Leka Maja, was shot dead during the tracing of illegal firearms in Mamelodi on Thursday.

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“Three suspects were fatally wounded and four pistols as well as three rifles were seized,” said Mathe.

Maja was part of the tactical operations management section within the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and had 14 years service.

Masemola said war has been declared “against criminals who attack and kill police officers”.

Read | 40 years in jail for reckless taxi driver who shot and injured traffic cop

“This is a war that has been called by criminals, we cannot come second.

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Segearnt Leka Maja

“We cannot co-rule with criminals, communities have put their trust in us and we need to fight back to ensure the safety and security of our communities and police officers.

“We are going to respond accordingly until we win this fight against criminals. The families of these officers are looking up to us to ensure that those that are behind these killings and attacks face the full might of the law,” said Masemola.

R25m has been set aide to enhance the safety and security of all police service points for this financial year.

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