At least three people have been arrested for the murder of five police officers and a retired soldier at an Eastern Cape Police Station in Ngcobo. A deadline of 72 hours had been set to make a breakthrough. However the families of the deceased are still trying to make sense of the tragedy.

Emotional turmoil for the families has been left behind. Warrant Officer Zuko Mbini, Constable Kuhle Mateta and Constable Sibongiseni Sandlana were gunned down inside the police station.

Warrant Constable Nkosiphendule Ponco and Constable Zuko Ntsheku were hijacked in their police vehicle and murdered. Their bodies were dumped next to a nearby high school.

The Ntsheku family lost their breadwinner. “The mother of the deceased is very broken. Yesterday (Wednesday) we had to take her to the doctor. She cannot cope. This was the only son who supported this family,” says family spokesperson Armstrong Luke. The sixth victim, Freddy Mpandeni, was gunned down by a fleeing suspect. The police station re-opened on Thursday.

The investigators believe they will make a breakthrough soon. “We are going to make an announcement soon and I can assure people of the Eastern Cape and South Africa that it will be good news. Remember we promised that within 72 hours we will make arrests,” says Eastern Cape Police Commissioner Lizwe Ntshinga.

A memorial service is also planned for Tuesday. A special debate in the National Assembly has been set down for next week to discuss the killing of the five police officers and the retired soldier. The people from Ngcobo are also demanding rapid intervention from the authorities to make the police station safer.

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