Seven robbers shot dead in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:33pm EST

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - An elite South African police unit shot dead seven men when they tried to rob a cash depot in western Johannesburg on Saturday evening, a spokesman for the unit said.

Nine others were injured and under police guard in hospital, a spokesman of the unit known as Hawks told Reuters. Police also confiscated 11 vehicles and four firearms.

"We believe we got the kingpin down. We are convinced that we got all the robbers - dead or arrested," Paul Ramaloko said.

The depot belonged to Protea Coin, a security company which runs a cash-in-transit business.

Crime is a chronic problem for South Africa. It has one of the highest murder rates in the world outside a war zone.

About 40 percent of the adult population is jobless - a percentage expected to rise substantially in the coming years - and this is seen driving crime and widening economic inequality.

(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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