Eighteen suspects were killed in a shootout with South African police in a rural northern region on Friday.
Police said their top officials, including the national commissioner of police, the deputy commissioner and the head of the elite Hawks unit were on their way to the scene of the shootout in the Makhado municipality in the Limpopo province.
Police spokesperson Brig. Athlenda Mathe gave no more immediate information but local media reported that the 18 killed were in a gang suspected of robbing armored vans carrying cash for banks, a common and often violent crime in South Africa that regularly leads to deadly shootouts.
The shootings added to an horrific two days for the country after at least 74 people died in a fire in a rundown apartment complex in the city of Johannesburg in the predawn hours of Thursday.