Johannesburg Police and Suspected Robbers in Shootout

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South African police said they killed eight suspects in a shootout with a heavily-armed gang that was planning to rob or hijack a vehicle transporting money.

Another eight suspected gang members were arrested, the South African Police Services said.

The shootout on the streets of Johannesburg on Monday terrified bystanders as police officers and suspects swapped fire near a city hospital.

Four police officers were injured, two of which were airlifted to hospital, said Police Minister Bheki Cele, who visited the scene.

Cele said the suspects had shot and injured the pilot of a police helicopter at the start of the shootout.

Provincial Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela said police had been monitoring the gang since last week and they were planning a major heist.

Police estimated that the gang was made up of around 25 men.

The incident began when police moved in to intercept the gang and arrest its members.

The gang members fled in cars to a safe house in southern Johannesburg, where the shootout happened, Mawela said.

Police recovered five stolen vehicles following the shootout and more firearms at the safe house, Cele said.

The Associated Press

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