South Africa: On 28 January 2023 at about 10h30, members of the 15 South African Infantry Battalion were on Observation Post along the Republic of South Africa/Mozambique border in the Bravo Company Area of responsibility when they spotted three vehicles coming from the Northern direction driving Southerly towards the general direction of their Observation Post at the vicinity of Steenbok Trust outside Komatipoort Mpumalanga Province.
The SA National Defence Force soldiers tactically assessed the situation. They redeployed themselves from the Observation Post to move to a position where they could be able to stop the approaching vehicles or find them stationary in the vicinity of what could only be referred to as “bushy terrain features” as it is common for cross-border vehicles smuggling criminals to either increase speed, to stop or reduce speed in order to turn towards the direction of Mozambique in attempt to cross the National Border.
Upon members being close to these vehicles, the occupants of these suspicious vehicles took a bold decision and opened fire at SA National Defence Force members. They were immediately overwhelmed and outmatched by the soldiers as they returned fire to get control of the situation in the act of self-defence.
No SA National Defence Force member was harmed in the exchange of fire while the suspicious vehicle occupants abandoned their vehicles and fled on foot. No arrest was made.
The three vehicles recovered were a Silver/Grey Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD6 SUV, a Toyota Legend 50 Single Cab 2.4 GD6 Bakkie and a Legend 50 Club Cab 2.8 GD6 Bakkie. Communication with the local South African Police Service, Community Service Centre was established, and South African Police Service Tonga police immediately deployed to the scene on a “One Force Concept” and served as a force multiplier in collaboration with the SA National Defence members.
The South African Police Service confirmed the following values of the vehicles:
• Toyota Fortuner silver-grey is valued at R690 000.00.
• Toyota Hilux club cab white R700 000.00.
• Toyota Hilux single cab white R400 000.00
Tonga Police Station took all three vehicles.
South African National Defence Force shall continue to execute its functions solely dedicated to the National interest and including the protection of the inhabitants of the Republic of South Africa.