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Soldiers in court for stealing weapons from military base

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Investigation will continue until all stolen firearms are recovered and everyone involved is arrested – Hawks head

A LANCE corporal and a sapper appeared before a military tribunal this week for allegedly stealing 18 R4 assault rifles and three pistols from an army base in Pretoria, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) said in a joint statement on Friday.

Lance corporal Sidwel Babini Tyawana, aged 36, and 28-year-old sapper Tumelo Christian Mangale were granted bail on Wednesday.

Tyawana was arrested in Oudtshoorn on February 3 while Managale was picked up two days later while he was on duty at the SA Army Engineer Formation, the joint statement said.

The weapons went missing from the SA Army Engineer Formation, Tek Base in Lyttelton.

Some of the stolen firearms were sold to different individuals, particularly in the East Rand area, whilst others were hidden.

“The two suspects under the employ of the SANDF are expected back in court at Thaba-Tshwane on June 17,” the statement said.

During the course of a joint investigation by the Hawks and the military, an employee of the Gauteng Education Department, Kgotso Mooketsi, aged 36, was arrested in Springs for being in possession of an R4 rifle and three empty magazines. He was out on bail for an armed robbery case.

Mooketsi was charged and appeared at the Springs Magistrate’s Court. He has been remanded in custody until his next court appearance on May 4.

The investigating team then found 13 of the stolen R4 rifles and a 9mm pistol in Daveyton, and another pistol in a veld in Kwa-Thema.

The national head of the Hawks, General Godfrey Lebeya, said the investigation would continue until all the stolen firearms were recovered and everyone involved was arrested.

SANDF Commander General Solly Shoke commended the investigating team and stressed that “the military is not the place for criminals”.

– African News Agency (ANA)