Mon, 18 Nov 2019

The three men arrested in connection with the robbery of international students at a pre-school in Mamelodi East have abandoned their bail applications.

The three, who appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday, will remain behind bars until their next appearance, after the case was postponed for further investigation.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Louw Mjonondwane told News24 that the suspects had abandoned their bid for bail and were expected to appear in court again on July 16.

A few days after five men held up the school at gunpoint earlier in May, police arrested their first suspect, who was laying low around the Pienaarspoort informal settlement in Mamelodi East.

The second suspect linked to the Viva Foundation School robbery was tracked down and arrested in Limpopo on Friday, with the third suspect caught while in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

On May 13, five gunmen entered the Viva Foundation School premises, under the guise of being part of the international group of students.

Once inside, group of men quickly took control of the school and proceeded to rob the 19 international students and two professors who were there to take part in an outreach programme.

READ MORE: Robbery executed with 'military precision' at Mamelodi school

During the robbery, one of the teachers was pistol-whipped. They also shot an innocent bystander.

The US students were robbed of their laptops, cellphones, cameras, passports, plane tickets, bags and US dollars.

Witnesses told News24 that the robbery was well planned and well executed.

"There were five to eight gunmen... a taxi with no number plates. When they came in, according to the witnesses, they moved with military precision through every classroom, clearing every classroom, doing sweeps," Viva Foundation chairperson Leon Kriel told News24.

"Also, their plan on getting into the actual village was brilliant, because we didn't know who was actually coming. We knew there was a bus coming in the morning, we knew there were Americans coming, but we didn't know what they looked like."

The men are facing charges of robbery, assault and attempted murder.

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