South Africa has arrested 20 police officers suspected of running a crime syndicate for contract murder, intimidation and theft, the police service said one of the biggest single swoops of its kind.
The arrests, in the country’s second biggest city of Durban, come after the appointment earlier this month of a new commissioner to clean up a department hit by several high-profile graft cases.
“This is the first phase of the investigation. We expect that more arrests will follow in the next phases,” the police said in a statement, Reuters reports.
Many of those arrested will appear in court on Thursday.
South Africa has one of the highest murder rates of any country outside a war zone, with crime seen as deterring some foreign investment in Africa’s largest economy.