12 arrested as Jeppestown flares up overnight

2015-04-17 08:57

Police nabbed 12 people in Jeppestown overnight for trying to loot shops owned by foreigners, as State Security Minister David Mahlobo vowed to bring instigators to book.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said Jeppestown in Johannesburg was the only place where violence was reported last night.

He could not confirm reports that some cars were set alight, but admitted that there were people targeting foreigners again.

“Twelve suspects were arrested for trying to break into foreign-owned shops,” said Dlamini.

“There were no reports of injuries.”

The state security minister said in an interview with Eyewitness News that he suspected the attacks on foreign nationals that started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng, were part of a “coordinated effort”.

Five people, including a 14-year-old boy, had been killed since unrest broke out last weekend.

A peace march against xenophobia turned violent yesterday when the police clashed with pockets of protesters.

Earlier this week, messages warning foreigners of imminent attacks in Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria were spread via SMS and WhatsApp.

“Just those prank messages is a coordinated effort,” said Mahlobo. “But the intelligence services, they are hard at work.

“We know that there are instigators in those various communities and these are the individuals that we are going to bring ... to book.”

The minister said citizens would not just wake up one morning and decide to embark on violent action.

“Attacks on foreign nationals, issues of defacing statues, are becoming very coordinated. The issues of land invasion ... these are the things that are becoming coordinated. We are keeping our eyes wide open ... there is a common theme of lawlessness.”

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