Cops kills wrong man
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About 12 police cars were involved in the pursuit of cash-heist robbers from Eldorado Park to Freedom Park in South Africa. The chase ended in the neighbouring suburb of Devland.
At about 9am on Monday, a security guard collecting money at a supermarket was confronted by two men while he was returning to the cash van.
Police said the guard had been held up at gunpoint and the thieves had taken a cash box from him before fleeing in a getaway vehicle.
The guard quickly responded, and began following in his van, which resulted in the hot pursuit of the thugs into open veld â€“ where they abandoned their vehicle and fled further on foot.
When Monday morning's drama finally ended a while later, Mbantjoa Khang, who had come to SA three years ago and made a living by collecting and selling scrap, would be at the centre of it.
Khang, 29, from Koma Koma in Lesotho, lived at the infamous Devland landfill site, where residents are mainly foreigners who are often bullied by police for their lack of proper documents.
Khang's younger brother, Mojela, said he had last seen Khang just after 9am on Monday, when police were covering the area searching for suspects they believed were involved in the morning's heist.
"We ran in different directions as we feared the police. They normally come asking for our passports, and if we don't have them, then they take money from us," he said.
Mojela said he became worried when everyone eventually returned to the area, but not his brother.
"I then heard residents saying a Lesotho man was shot by the cops near the sewerage pipes. I quickly ran with a friend to the scene."
There, he found the place swarming with police officers and onlookers.
"We found my brother dead on the grass. It was painful seeing him there because I knew he was killed for nothing," said a devastated Mojela.
He said a policewoman at the scene told him his brother was a cash-heist suspect.
"I told her I had been with him when the police started searching the area. How could he be part of the heist when he was with us in the morning, cooking on an open fire?" said Mojela. "She asked me why my brother was dressed in a black jacket while police were looking for a man dressed similar to (the way he was dressed)."
He said she then instructed him to go to the Kliptown police station with his brother's passport.
Khang's family went to the police station, where they say they were appalled at the insensitive treatment from the officers.
"We were told that only one person could remain inside the station and the other three should wait outside as we were overcrowding the station. We didn't like the attitude we were given by another female cop at the front desk. She treated us as if our brother had been a criminal," said Selina Mantsan, the dead man's aunt.
Khang's death comes as Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told a Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union crime summit in Boksburg on Tuesday that police officers should not use "maximum force" unnecessarily.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the matter would be investigated.
Now the Khang family have appealed for help to give the victim a dignified burial in Lesotho.
"We don't have money to bury him. No one is employed back at home," said Mantsan.
Four suspects arrested near the dump site were due to appear in court on Wednesday.
Source: IOL, Additional reporting by Sue Segar
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