Gunmen kill suspect during Eastern Cape police station attack

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has initiated a 72-hour-action plan after four balaclava-clad gunmen walked into an Eastern Cape police station and held officers at gunpoint as they killed a man in police custody.

The brazen attack took place in the early hours of Monday morning at the Ngangelizwe police station in Mthatha. The deceased, a 38-year-old man, had been arrested on July 29 for possession of firearms.

"It is alleged that four suspects in possession of firearms entered the community service centre just after midnight and held the members on duty at gunpoint. Two of the suspects proceeded to the holding cells and the members heard several gunshots. The suspects then fled the scene," police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said.

He said that when officers investigated, they found the suspect dead.

Muridili said the motive for the killing would be investigated by a multidisciplinary team consisting of specialised units and "seasoned police investigators".

Sitole said security at police stations and the safety of officers were his "highest priority".

"I have ordered that the 72-hour action plan be implemented immediately to track down these perpetrators who have total disregard for human lives as well as the authority of the state. I am confident that these perpetrators will be brought to book as we continue to stamp the authority of the state," he said.