South Africa’s reputation for violent crime was underscored once again after robbers armed with assault rifles and explosives blew up two armoured cash-carrying vans in Johannesburg on Thursday.
In stunning scenes captured on cellphone, the daredevil robbers seal off a block in the suburb of Boksburg, east of Johannesburg’s commercial center, before calmly detonating explosives under the cash vans.
Three large explosions are heard, with plumes of gray smoke shooting up into the air as pedestrians and motorists scrambled in blind panic.
There are also rapid exchanges of gunfire before and after the blasts, although it is not clear where the shots were coming from.
The assailants, who numbered around a dozen, then load sacks into at least two get-away cars before speeding away.
SA Police said two security guards in the cash vans were injured in the incident and were treated in hospital.
They added that some of the robbers – one of them a policeman – were arrested after being tracked by helicopter to a run-down industrial park.
Security experts quoted in South African media said the way the assailants behaved and handled the weapons suggested they had military backgrounds.
The police were also lauded for their speedy response which led to the arrests.