WEPENER-The South African Police Service has arrested at least 158 Lesotho nationals, suspected to be Famo gangsters who had just come back from attending a funeral of one of them in Lesotho.
They were all arrested at Wepener, in the Free State after a shootout with members of the SAPS and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
According to a statement by the SAPS all the nabbed immigrants were not legally documented and they are also accused of refusing to stop at a roadblock when called upon to do so by police officers. They are also accused of illegal possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
The men, who are believed to be resident in Bloemfontein whose ages range between 24 and 39, had just crossed into South Africa from Mafeteng via the “porous” Van Rooyen’s border when they were stopped in their tracks on the wee hours of Sunday 5 June 2022.
The SAPS and SANDF were manning a roadblock on the R702/ R26 crossing, which is an unguarded part of the border in Wepener area, southern part of Free State,” the SAPS statement says.
“At about 00:45 hours, a convoy of 13 Toyota Quantums, a Grey Toyota Regius, Red Volkswagen Golf and Grey BMW 523i approached the roadblock and the first Toyota Quantum failed to stop as indicated by the official at the roadblock. Shots were fired from the minibus and the officials at the roadblock returned fire. One male was slightly injured during the cross-fire and rushed to hospital in Bloemfontein.
“Eventually all vehicles were stopped and searched. One hundred and fifty-eight passengers were found to be travelling into the Republic of South Africa without proper documents allowing them to be in the country. Two firearms with magazines loaded with rounds of ammunition were found hidden inside the BMW sedan.
“Five males, with ages ranging from 24 to 39 occupying the BMW, were arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. The BMW registration number plates and license disc were also not corresponding. A total number of 158 passengers were arrested as illegal immigrants,”the SAPS statement read.