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    Airport heist crew smashed

    END OF THE ROAD: The corpse of alleged burglar lies in the road after a shootout with police in Pretoria previously in the hours of darkness. A bunch of criminals was attacking an Angolan family that had landed earlier at OR Tambo International Airport when two suspects were gunshot and died immediately. A third was seriously wounded 

    A shootout with police has left two would-be robbers dead and a third seriously wounded close to Pretoria,Timeslive confirm.

    The men were attacking an Angolan couple and their South African host moments after they arrived at the host's home in The Moot, north of Pretoria, from OR Tambo International Airport previously.

    A Nigerian ambassador, attending the African Union Summit, was also attacked two weeks ago. Gabriel Gundo was travelling from the airport to his Sandton hotel when he was attacked and robbed of $500 and R700 in cash by gunmen posing as Nigerian police officers.

    The Hawks are looking into whether the robbery was planned in advance or if Gundo's taxi was opportunistically followed from the airport.

    In previous night's attack three men cornered their victims as they parked in their driveway.

    As the victims' motor vehicle came to a stop, the robbers pulled them from the vehicle, held them at gunpoint and demanded cash, bags and jewellery. One of the car's occupants was an Angolan policeman.

    Police from the National Investigation Unit, the Hawks, and the Canine Unit, and employees of Tracker, were conducting a crime intelligence operation when they spotted the car as the burglary occurred. The robbers started shooting at the police, who shot back, killing two of the men and seriously injuring a third. No police or bystanders were wounded.

    Police sources said that the robbers' vehicle, a blue BMW1 series, was stolen when a Nigerian businessman was attacked in Boschkop, east of Pretoria, after being followed from OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.

    Police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said officers were conducting an operation in The Moot when they received news that there was a robbery taking place.

    He said that because of the number of robberies concerning people leaving the airport the national police commissioner had ordered an increase in operations to counter such attacks.

    He said two handguns were found and would be sent for ballistics testing. "The [men] will be profiled to see if they can be linked to other airport robberies."

    Naidoo confirmed that the robbers' car had been hijacked earlier this month.

    The decline in the number of attacks on travellers leaving OR Tambo International Airport since September last year is beginning to be reversed.

    Last year 18 members bunch of criminals that shadowed travellers leaving OR Tambo were arrested. The burst through has been attributed to the deployment of highly experienced retired detectives, an innovation that national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said was crucial in dealing with high-profile crimes.

    There are fears that the Rolex crew – known for break-ins and the purloining of jewellery and Rolex-branded watches, especially in the northern suburbs – might be in action again.

    Picture credit: SIZWE NDINGANE

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