Manhunt launched after medical staff held hostage, ambulance stripped

Police have launched a manhunt for a group of criminals after an ambulance was stripped and the medical personnel held hostage.

It is understood the ambulance personnel received a call about a woman who was at a farm near Belfast on the Spitzkop Road when they were attacked.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the medics were not aware that the ‘woman giving birth scenario’ was orchestrated to rob the ambulance.

“As the ambulance arrived at the place mentioned by the caller, two males wearing balaclavas which covered their faces are said to have then emerged. The suspects allegedly held them hostage and took their cell phones from them before they tied them up with cable ties but kept inside the ambulance,” said Mohlala.

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The ambulance was reportedly then driven to another location, where five more suspects were waiting.

“The suspects allegedly stripped the vehicle of its gearbox, engine, two tyres, as well as the battery. The total estimated value of the vehicle parts stolen is about R300,000. These motor parts were then loaded into another vehicle and surprisingly the suspects gave the EMS personnel their cell phones that were taken earlier before they left the scene,” said Mohlala.

A case of robbery is being investigated.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has condemned the incident.

“As law enforcement officers, we will not allow a situation like this, whereby emergency workers will be hindered to carry out their duties by criminals. We will do all in our powers to bring them to book and they cannot escape the arm of the law.”  

The Belfast police have urged the public to assist with any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects.

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