Five South African police were shot dead Wednesday when a group stormed a police station in Umtata, authorities said.
Three officers were killed in the community service center and an off-duty soldier was shot dead as the armed suspects fled.
Two others were taken by the attackers in a police van and were later found on the side of the road about 4 miles from the station.
A motive for the attack is not clear yet to police, who said the suspects robbed a bank teller machine nearby. The shooters also stole 10 firearms from the police station.
National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said he is “appalled and deeply saddened by the cold and callous attack” and ordered an investigation.
“We will not rest until we have tracked down these heartless killers and bring them to book,” Sitole said.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula called for calm from other officers and asked the community to come forward if they can help identify the killers.
“I am aware how emotional this horrific incident is. Today I have instructed General Khehla Sitole to hunt those barbaric criminals,” Mbalula said. “They must regret the day they sat and planned to attack the state.”
Mbalula told the community to be on alert.
“These are very dangerous criminals, I urge people to remain vigilant and calm and report any possible suspicion to the police.”
By Susan McFarland