Operation Shanela nets 828 in the Free State

The police arrested 351 suspects during tracing operations throughout the five districts. PHOTO: Supplied

Police efforts to reduce crime and remove criminal elements in the province continue to bear fruit as more than 800 people were arrested in one week.

According to police spokesperson Mahlomola Kareli, all five districts in the Free State took part in the high-density, multi-disciplinary operation backed up by intelligence-led information to ensure that criminals were brought to book.

“Two firearms were seized during these operations in Namahadi and Meloding,” said Kareli.

“In the fight against drug abuse, members, with the help of the communities, managed to arrest eight suspects for dealing in drugs and 50 for possession, while drugs such as cocaine, dagga, crystal meth, nyaope and mandrax were found in their possession. Eight suspects were arrested for robberies and 37 were booked for possession of dangerous weapons,” Kareli added.

He further stated that gender-based violence and assault incidents poked through as two suspects were arrested for rape and 125 suspects were arrested for assault.

“A vehicle was stolen and shortly thereafter recovered, with five suspects arrested in Bloemfontein. Thirteen people were arrested for driving while under the influence, while 66 people were arrested for being in the country illegally,” said Kareli.

“Crime combating operations have an enormous impact on stabilising our communities and infrastructure damage is placed as one of the priorities in the province, which led to the recovery of copper cables and arrests. Eight robbery suspects were detained and 29 suspects were arrested for burglaries, while 14 were booked for malicious damage to property,” he added.

According to Kareli, police further arrested 351 suspects during tracing operations throughout the five districts.

“Members also conducted regular stop and searches, vehicle checkpoints, roadblocks, cordons and searches, and high-visibility patrols with the involvement of the Department of Labour and the Department of Home Affairs, including Traffic Law enforcement. More than 105 suspects were also arrested for other crimes, such as traffic violations and contraventions of the Second-hand Goods Act,” he concluded.

“We can’t win this battle without the involvement of our communities and therefore we thank the community of Maokeng who showed up for the Imbizo on Friday. The police will continue with this clean-up operation called Shanela,” said Free State Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General, Baile Motsoenyane.

Compiled by Justine Fortuin