In S. Africa, Cash Handling Vans a Prevalent Target

ARMED gangs staged six heists in six hours on vans carrying cash in South Africa, local police revealed today.

Spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said yesterday's attacks were carried out on private security vans in Johannesburg, Durban and other towns and cities. No one was killed but local media reported that shots were fired and one guard was injured.

Police have made four arrests.

Ms Martins-Engelbrecht said detectives were investigating whether the robberies were linked. "A new trend may be rearing its ugly head," she said.

South Africa last week pledged to stamp out organised crime after a series of violent robberies and bloody shootouts raised security fears ahead of the 2010 football World Cup, which the country will host.

Safety and security minister Charles Nquakula, who had previously sparked outrage by declaring that people who complained about crime should leave the country, said police would focus on crime syndicates carrying out attacks on banks, shopping malls and vehicles carrying cash.

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