Several people have been taken into questioning regarding the murder of five Ncgobo police officers in the Eastern Cape, the Daily Dispatch reported. On Thursday night, police confirmed that four people were being questioned. The police, however, said this was routine and declined to give further information.
The police officers were shot dead by armed men who stormed the police station in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The suspects allegedly stole the weapons stored at the station before fleeing the scene, and a task team comprised of senior detectives was formed to investigate the case.
The SABC reported on Wednesday that President Cyril Ramaphosa wanted to see arrests by Saturday.
Ramaphosa said he was pleased with the police's commitment to his call, according to News24. He reportedly said: "And this is the new way that we want to do things in our country now. Start things on time, get things done timeously, and when there is a disaster like [that], it should be attended to with maximum speed."
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said on Thursday that the police want the perpetrators "dead or alive", according to Times Select.
"They [criminals] sent us an invitation; we are going to send a response. We want them dead or alive," he said.
According to TimesLive, the police initially said on Thursday that men had been arrested for the murders, but later backtracked, and said they were only taken in for questioning.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Khaya Tojeni told the Daily Dispatch: "We can confirm there are people who have been taken in for questioning. This is standard procedure during the process of any investigation. People will be questioned and this will not be done differently in this case," he said.
He reportedly added that police would not be giving out information unless there was something "tangible and meaningful" to report.
News that there had been "arrests" apparently came from the Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga, who told this to victim Constable Kuhle Mathetha's family on Thursday, TimesLive reported.
It is believed that the owner of a bed-and-breakfast alerted police to the presence of four suspicious men. Their names did not correspond with their IDs.
Details of the deceased officers were released on Thursday, according to News24.
Their names are Warrant Officer Zuko Mbini, 45, and Constables Zuko Ntsheku, 38, Nkosiphendule Pongco, 32, Sibongiseni Sondlana, 32 and Kuhle Metete, 27.