New Year’s shooting: Cops probe possible Melville links as kidnapped man rescued

The intelligence-led team who arrested five foreign nationals on Thursday after finding a huge stash of military uniforms and weapons at a house while investigating a kidnapping, are probing possible links to the deadly New Year’s Eve shootings in Melville, Johannesburg.

The shooting just an hour into the new year outside Poppy’s restaurant in the popular Seventh Street is yet to lead to any arrests. The drive-by crime left two women dead and six other people injured and hospitalised.

Video footage captured the moments a black BMW SUV drove past Poppy’s restaurant and opened fire on its patrons, but police have been as yet unable to arrest any suspects.

ALSO READ: Specialised detective unit assigned to New Year’s shootings in Melville, Newtown

Meanwhile, the kidnapping victim the police was looking for, a 72-year-old Indian national who was abducted on 2 July 2020, was rescued in the Kensington area in Joburg in the early hours of Friday morning.

The victim said he was not physically harmed, but as a precautionary measure he was taken to hospital for a thorough medical examination.

No further details on the rescue can be provided at this stage in order to protect the investigation.

ALSO READ: Foreign military uniform, guns recovered in house of alleged kidnapping syndicate in Joburg.

The stash uncovered during the police raid on the Kliprivier house on Thursday consisted of foreign military uniforms, several firearms including rifles and pistols, some of which were buried in the garden on the same property.

Some of the bigger firearms included two AK 47 rifles, one Uzzi submachine gun, and two pump-action shot guns.

The owner of the house is still on the run.

National Commissioner of Police General Khehla John Sitole has congratulated the team, who worked through the night to find the victim, after the rescue.

Sitole said: “In the meantime, we are also investigating the possibility that this group may also be linked to Melville drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day this year”.

Of the five suspects who were arrested on Thursday, three men are to be charged with kidnapping and they will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The remaining two, a man and a woman, will be charged for being in possession of firearms unlawfully and they will appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday, police said..

The investigation team is confident that more suspects will be arrested on the kidnapping case.

The police encourage anyone who has any more information on this matter or crime in general to contact the SAPS on Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. Information may also be communicated via the MySAPSApp.

All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous.

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