PRETORIA-- The hunt for more suspects linked to murder of five policemen and a retired solider at the Ngcobo police station in Eastern Cape Province last Wednesday despite the breakthrough at the weekend.

On Friday night, police received information that the unknown gunmen were hiding at the Seven Angels Church in Nyanga village at Ngcobo and in a shoot-out between a police special task force and the gunmen on Friday night, seven suspects were shot dead and 10 others arrested, while some apparently managed to escape. The search is underway for those who escaped.

The suspects are linked to the mass murder of five police officers -- Warrant Officer Zuko Mbini, Constable Zuku Ntsheku, Constable Nkosiphendule Pongco, Constable Sibongiseni Sodlana and Constable Kuhle Metete -- who were gunned down while on duty at Ngcobo Police station on Wednesday morning.

A retired soldier, Freddy Mpandeni, was also killed during the shooting.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said over the weekend: "This tragedy will remain one of the worst moments of our democracy, where protectors of our democracy and people were under attack. What happened at Ngcobo must never happen again in our republic."

The Minister, who visited the area together with National Commissioner-General of Police Khehle Sitole on Friday, welcomed the breakthrough with the take down operation, saying the officers must continue to assert the authority of the State and affirm rule of law".

"Police arrested suspected criminals in a satanic place masquerading as a church. Our people must be vigilant and report these kinds of places. We urge our people to continue working with the Police for a peaceful and prosperous South Africa," the Minister said.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday for the murdered police officers. The chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, will attend the memorial service.

"We will give moral support to the families of the deceased and the SAPS (South African Police Service) during this difficult time. This is also a clear sign that the thoughts and prayers of all South Africans are with families of the deceased policemen," Beukman said Sunday.

The committee will meet Gen. Sitole during the next two weeks to receive a briefing on the incident, while a special debate on the incident will take place on Wednesday in the National Assembly.