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The Orkney Magistrates’ Court deferred the case against eighty-seven(87) suspects who are facing charges related to illegal mining at shaft 2 in Orkney.

The accused will now appear at the Regional Court in Stilfontein on 02 March 2022, and for the police to conduct further investigations. Following the completion of the status verification of these miners, it was established that all 87 persons have no legal documents to be in South Africa and as such are illegal.

They have all abandoned their bail application. The accused are facing charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of gold, theft and conspiracy to commit an offence.

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Police reports indicate that 8 of the accused were wounded and 6 fatally wounded during a shootout with members of the Special Task Force assisted by Hawks Organised Crime in the North West, this was an intelligence-driven operation on Wednesday, 20 October 2021.

One of the accused is still under police guard, receiving medical attention in a health facility and the case proceeded in his absence. Police report reveals the following items were discovered, two mini-busses, Illegal mining paraphernalia, gold-bearing material, eleven Illegal firearms ( 3 x shotguns, 3 x rifles, 4 x pistols and 1 x revolver) and bags of food.

The suspects will remain in police custody until their next court appearance.

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Statement from NPA North West Division.