Night, p.3
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       Night, p.3
 

          
CHAPTER TWO

  Civilians caught up in the robbery were already filtering out of the bank. Some were annoyed and fuming and spitting insults at the police officers for allowing this to happen to them. Others were heavily traumatised and crying.

  Sergeant Night ordered the crews of November Whisky 14 and 21 to set up a check point at the exit to the bank and to collect all of the contact details of the victims of the robbery and to take sample fingerprints from everyone at the scene. Sergeant Night knew from previous experience that criminals often stayed behind after a robbery had gone bad and posed as innocent civilians – although this time he highly doubted it with “the Devil” being involved. It would have been too risky for the criminals to survive.

  “Control, November Whisky 50” said Sergeant Night over the police radio.

  “Send your message November Whisky 50.”

  “I need an ambulance at the Metropolitan Bank. I also need the mortuary van, detectives, fingerprints, photographers and trauma counsellors. Please also alert provincial command and send the duty officer. I have at least four dead bank robbers here.”

  “Any injured police, November Whisky?” asked the Controller cautiously.

  “Stand by, Control.”

  “Snyman, any of your boys hurt?” asked Sergeant Night.

  “Yes. One of the rookies. He is dead. Shot in the face.”

  “And the other rook?” inquired Sergeant Night.

  “He is fine. Just upset. And… wet.”

  Sergeant Night understood “wet” as that he had pissed himself.

  “Control, November Whisky 50. One officer fatally wounded. He is one of Sergeant Snyman’s men. He will call you over the phone with details so that you may have the next of kin informed.”

  “Roger that, my crew is standing by to take the call. And what of Metro Ten Sergeant?”

  “Stand by Control we are going in to the bank now.”

  Sergeant Night, Constable Shaka and Stanislov entered the bank, Constable Stanislov most cautiously keeping over-watch, looking out for an ambush. The front foyer of the bank was almost empty apart from a mother and child huddled in the corner. Weeping. Moving towards the tellers they found more people. A young couple slowly got off the floor and greeted them.

  “Thank you officers” they said in barely a whisper and moved off to the exit.

  An elderly man stood and faced Constable Shaka and said: “Since you blacks took over the country look at what has become of it. The wild west where people are killed for their shoes and banks are robbed at will.”

  Sergeant Night interjected sharply and said: “Not now old man, hold your bitterness and hatred and leave us.”

  The old man tried once more to speak but Sergeant Night gave him a withering look as only he could. The old man understood the message and left quietly.

  Sergeant Night and Constable Shaka went behind the cashiers’ desks leaving Constable Stanislov outside to keep guard. They approached the bank’s safe where the bank staff were huddled. The bank tellers and manager didn’t say a word. The manager slowly raised his hand and pointed inside to the huge walk-in safe.

  They entered and looked up.

  The crew of Metro Ten were hanging dead from the roof. Their arms and legs had been cut off and the limbs were lying on the floor beneath them. Sergeant Night read the name tags as Peace Officer Richard Ndlovu and Peace Officer Henry Shaka. The floor was awash with the blood which had drained from the mutilated bodies.

  “The leader, he used a Panga, he tortured them,” said the bank manager, his voice traumatised. “I heard him tell his men to lure them in so that they could cut them up into pieces. We saw them pull right up to the front door of the bank with blue lights on. The leader said that they must be new cops. He laughed and said they must be a gift for him.”

  Constable Shaka took his large knife and began to cut his brother down.

  Sergeant Night realised that this was against best practice and that his friend was contaminating a murder scene but he was not going to stop him. Constable Shaka took his brother’s limbless body and lay on the bloody floor resting his back on the wall while holding his dead brother. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t cry. His pain was beyond tears. His body was incapable of showing its sadness. Sergeant Night knew that his best friend’s soul was in agony.

  Sergeant Night took Constable Shaka’s radio from him and left him in the safe. Closing the door but not locking it, he instructed the bank staff and manager not to go in and not to let anybody else in until the forensics team and detectives arrived.

  “Control, November Whisky 50.”

  “Send November Whisky 50.”

  “The crew of Metro Ten are no more.”

  “Roger that Sergeant. I will inform their radio Control and their superiors and have them notify next of kin.”

  “Metro Peace Officer Henry Shaka’s only kin already knows, Control.”

  “Oh my God” said the radio voice, momentarily losing emotional Control.

  “I am so sorry Mike, I am so sorry.” said Lisa van der Westhuizen, the sweet voice of radio Control.

  Mike and Lisa knew each other well. In fact they had been seeing each other on and off for over two years. Sergeant Night had asked her out on a date over the police radio after taking a liking to her voice, the angelic voice that seemed so caring and compassionate to him – a rash move for which he received a disciplinary hearing over the misuse of police equipment. Thankfully General Arosi was the chair of the committee and actually found the incident quite romantic. Sergeant Night got off with a verbal warning and a dinner date with one of the most intriguing girls he had ever known.

  “Any word on the duty officer, Control?” inquired Sergeant Night.

  “Yes. General Arosi is coming down himself. He left when the call came through. He should be with you shortly.”

  Just then Sergeant Night heard the unmistakable deep voice of General Amos Arosi from behind him.

  “Mike, this looks and feels a bad one. Are you all right my friend?”

  Sergeant Night turned, stood to attention and saluted his General.

  “How many times have I told you not to salute me Mike. You are a dear friend of mine and it is not necessary.”

  “With all due respect General, it is necessary. I am on duty and you are my commander.”

  Sergeant Night continued: “This was an absolute cluster fuck! Having the Metro Units allowed on our radio channel has just led to another two of them being tortured and killed!”

  “Well it’s not our fault the ‘Peace Officers’ aren’t trained well enough. After all, their mandate is to write tickets not to respond to Alpha calls. From day one I have opposed the decision to allow them to respond to the more serious stuff. You know this full well but the Commissioner himself pushed for it. He thinks why should only his men die in this war on crime in the new South Africa. And I almost agree with him.”

  The General pushed on, his voice intensifying: “Did you know that we are currently losing an officer once every five days across the country? And I am losing one of my men once every three days here in Johannesburg. Do you have any idea what that is like? Two funerals a week I must attend. Two families a week I have to explain why their son or daughter is dead. In fact I am glad the Metro units are involved. Perhaps they can catch a few of the bullets that my officers would have taken. I am sick of it…”

  Sergeant Night interrupted the General.

  “One of those Metro officers was Henry, Zulu’s brother.”

  “Oh no. I’m sorry. I didn’t know. The Metro commanders are supposed to give us duty rosters so we know who is on shift and where. If I had known Henry was posted to Norwood I would have redeployed him somewhere safer as I have done in the past. I am so sorry Mike. I didn’t know. Where is Daniel now?”

  “He is in the bank’s safe with his brother’s body. The bastards cut their arms and legs off and hung them from the roof.”

  “My God” uttered the General.


  “It was ‘the Devil’ himself General. I saw him as he left the bank.”

  “uSathane? Are you sure Mike? Why would he accompany his men on a bank job?? … Anyway we can discuss the matter later. Let’s get this crime scene sorted out and let’s look after Daniel.”

  The detectives had arrived along with the photographers, fingerprint specialists and crime scene experts. The lead detective was Detective Warrant Officer Sipho Mnisi. Sergeant Night was happy about this as he had worked with D/I Mnisi in the past and knew he almost always secured a conviction.

  D/I Mnisi was effective in performing his duties yet not very personable. He was a tall thin man of fair complexion, almost always in a tired looking grey suit and wore a small thin moustache. He unmistakably had an ancestor among the San Tribe of the African desert. From a proud tradition of hunter-gatherers he was now gathering evidence and hunting criminals.

  “Okay Sergeant I am officially taking over this crime scene. You and your men are free to leave. I have your contact details and will get in touch tomorrow to get full statements from all of you. I take it the dead criminals outside are you and your men’s work?”

  “They are not all ours. I believe Sergeant Snyman got one of them as well.”

  “And the one with the knife wound to the heart? I assume that’s Constable Shaka’s handiwork again. How many times must I tell you guys that it is hard to explain to the prosecutor why one of the suspects died by knife. What is the reason this time Sergeant?”

  “Let’s say Constable Shaka’s Nine mill jammed and he had no choice but to go to his knife.”

  “Well, whatever you say just get your story straight. As usual I am compelled by South African law to open up murder dockets against all of you. I wouldn’t worry though with three cops being killed there will be little sympathy for the dead criminals” said D/I Mnisi.

  “Okay detective I will talk to you tomorrow and would like to be involved in the investigation if possible.”

  “Well I would normally deny your request but given who one of the deceased is I shall allow it”. Mnisi gave a derisive snort and added: “Besides if I didn’t I am sure your friend the General would overrule me anyway. Do you have any pertinent information for me now? Without going into detail as I have to wrap up this scene – the bank manager is already nagging me to hurry up as he wants to get back to business. He estimates that the bastards got away with over a million rand.”

  Sergeant Night stared blankly, thinking about the words of the detective and wondering what his beautiful country had come to that a bank manager cares not that two police officers hang dead in his safe.

  “Well Sergeant. Anything?” snapped D/I Mnisi.

  “Yes, detective. It was uSathane and his crew.”

  “And you know this how, Sergeant?”

  “Because I saw him with my own eyes. It was unmistakably him.”

  “Interesting, why would he be present himself?” the detective muttered to himself. “Perhaps it has to do with that shipment from Libya flagged up by Intelligence last week” he continued, seemingly forgetful that Sergeant Night was still standing there.

  Then snapping out of his temporary trance the hardboiled cop looked at Sergeant Night once more.

  “All right thank you Sergeant, you and your men are free to leave the scene and carry on with your duty or whatever it is you are going to do.”

  In most countries around the world after police officers were involved in a deadly gun battle with criminal suspects they would be put on compulsory leave for six months to a year or more or desk duty and their weapons confiscated for ballistics testing. And they would receive enforced trauma counselling. Not so in South Africa. Not so in Norwood. Officers were involved in shootouts so often that to take these officers off the street for a lengthy period after every fire fight would be to leave the streets unpatrolled and devoid of police officers. It was simply not feasible.

  Instead each officer was linked to his or her weapon/s and ammunition via DNA identification tagging, an ingenious modern technique crafted by the South African National Ballistics Unit – a special component of the South African Army. This inventive method involved all police officers having samples of their DNA taken at National Headquarters. This DNA would then be replicated and loaded onto a national database and a unique signature created for each officer’s personal DNA. These signatures were then imprinted on each officer’s personal issue weapons via pioneering nanotechnology. The officer’s ammunition, which was issued directly from National Headquarters, was then imprinted with nanites with a matching DNA signature. The key element here was that an officer’s state issue firearm would not fire without ammunition with corresponding DNA signatures of each individual officer being detected. This led to a dramatic decrease in unexplained officer shootings and greater Control of state weapons and ammunition -- which was greatly needed as in the previous five years before the “Nano-tagging” was introduced just over 10 000 state issue police firearms went missing. This figure has dramatically reduced to almost zero as an officer’s weapons become useless without the officer. And there is greater pause for thought in each and every police officer’s trigger finger.

  As for the obligatory trauma counselling – that too had to be rethought as a world first was occurring. The trauma counsellors themselves started to show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD after counselling members of the SAPF.

  This had the dramatic result that the South African National Association of Police Trauma Counsellors refused to give counsel to South African police officers. This ultimately led to the highest rate of suicides by members of SAPF amongst police officers anywhere in the world and to members of the public wondering what is was that the South African National Association of Police Trauma Counsellors actually did, in spite of their impressive title.

  General Arosi walked up to Sergeant Night with Constable Shaka by his side.

  Constable Shaka spoke quietly: “Mike, the General has arranged for the Air Wing to put me in a transport plane and send me home to Natal with my brother.”

  “Okay, let’s go” replied Sergeant Night.

  “I must do this alone Mike. I must face my family and tribal leaders and explain why I let him die.”

  “But…”

  “No Mike. I must do this alone. It is the Zulu way. Besides how would I explain to my elders being accompanied by a white man on to ancestral land. I love you Mike, you know that. But this I must face alone.”

  “All right my brother. So be it.”

  With that Zulu gave Sergeant Night a massive bear hug and Sergeant Night paused, gathering his thoughts and then announced: “When you get back we will kill all of the men responsible. The Devil will know God and his messengers.”

  Constable Shaka looked at Sergeant Night and said in full agreement “That is also the Zulu way.”

   

 
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