Vast un­der­ground bunker in Val­halla Park raided

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA SESANT and ZODIDI DANO

PO­LICE seized a large cache of il­le­gal firearms – at least 250 guns – in a house in Val­halla Park, along with am­mu­ni­tion and an undis­closed amount of cash yes­ter­day.

Po­lice, who ar­rested four peo­ple be­lieved to be re­lated, said some of the firearms had been hid­den in a vast un­der­ground bunker. The fire- arms were found fol­low­ing a tip-off.

Act­ing na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Kho­motso Phahlane lauded the of­fi­cers for their ster­ling de­tec­tive work.

“We are con­fi­dent that this cache will as­sist us in clamp­ing down on the scourge of gang­ster­ism as well as in re­duc­ing crime trends which af­fect our com­mu­ni­ties, such as mur­der and ve­hi­cle hi­jack­ings,” Phahlane said.

De­spite the se­ri­ous na­ture of the crime, the Val­halla Park com­mu­nity vented their anger at the po­lice.

In­fu­ri­ated lo­cals shouted at po­lice, de­mand­ing they free the four sus­pects, who in­clude a busi­ness­man from the area, his fa­ther and his sis­ter.

They claimed po­lice of­fi­cers, who ar­rived at the house at around 6:15am, tor­tured the main sus­pect.

A neigh­bour, Eu­ge­nia Traut, said she had been wo­ken by scream­ing.

Traut said she feared for the man’s life, claim­ing po­lice had con­fis­cated his med­i­cal treat­ment.

“We are not stop­ping them (po­lice) from do­ing their job, but they don’t have to be harsh. No, it’s not right,” Traut added.

A res­i­dent, San­dra Septem­ber said: “He is a good man. He helps us here in the com- mu­nity and is a role model to our chil­dren. He makes his money the right way and has a con­struc­tion busi­ness where he em­ploys most of us.”

Des­mond Vield­man said he grew up with the ac­cused.

“He helps us, he is not vi­o­lent.”

Phahlane said in­ves­ti­ga­tors had sealed off the premises as they were still look­ing for ad­di­tional ev­i­dence against the fam­ily.

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS

Po­lice swooped on a home in Ly­dia Street, Val­halla Park, and found a quan­tity of firearms kept in three un­der­gound safes. The an­gry com­mu­nity out­side hurled in­sults at the po­lice.

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