Mpumalanga police shot dead three alleged robbers on Thursday night.

The men were allegedly part of a group who stormed into a store stealing items but were later killed in a shootout with police.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the incident happened in Block A in Tonga.

He said according to information, a group of heavily armed suspects charged into a supermarket and stole items such as cigarettes, television sets, airtime, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash. They then fled in a vehicle.

"The matter was reported to the police, who responded swiftly and immediately searched for the suspects. They (police) spotted the suspects in a white Ford Bantam which matched the description of the vehicle used to flee the scene.

"Upon noticing the police, the suspects fired at them, and the police retaliated, fatally wounding three of the suspects, while one managed to escape.

"Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the remaining suspect is urged to immediately contact Colonel Nancy Mnisi on 072 603 8438 or the Crime Stop number 08600 10111. Alternatively, members of the public can send information via the My SAPS app. All received information will be treated as confidential, and callers may opt to remain anonymous," Mohlala said.

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela has applauded the Tonga police "for being dedicated to the cause of fighting crime as well as their act of bravery".