Community reeling after cops kill looters

2014-12-03 22:15
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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East London - A community in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape is furious after police shot and killed two people who were allegedly looting rice from an overturned truck.

At least two people so far have been confirmed dead – a 19-year-old Grade 11 pupil and a 34-year old mother of an 8-month-old baby girl.

City Press reported 11 people were injured after police opened fire on the crowd with live ammunition on Tuesday morning after a truck, which was transporting rice and sugar, overturned on the R61.

The incident which took place at Plangweni in Lurholweni village near Mzamba has left the community reeling and baying for the blood of the police from the Mzamba police station.

After a community meeting which took place on Wednesday, Sibusiso Shazi, leader of the SA National Civics Organisation (Sanco) in Mzamba, said residents demanded that all the police involved in the shooting immediately leave their area.

“People are extremely angry because police shot at them for picking up rice. What makes matters worse is that the people claim that it was the police themselves who started the looting and when the people joined in, they were shot at,” he said.

Shazi said the community was very angry and that it would be best if the police involved leave the area as the community is threatening to take matters into their own hands.

He said two cases of murder and 11 cases of attempted murder were opened at the Mzamba police station.

Two people were still in critical condition at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha, while nine others were discharged on Tuesday.

Earlier Sapa reported that police spokesperson Miranda Mills said community members became "volatile" when the manager of the truck company arrived at the scene and started to recover the goods which had fallen from the truck.

"This seemed to have agitated members of the community and those standing close by became angry because they did not want the goods to be loaded back onto the truck or taken away by the manager," said Mills.

"Members of the public became violent and grabbed the manager, threatening to kill him as they forcefully pulled him."

Live ammunition used

However, when police intervened and freed the manager from the group's grasp, they started throwing stones.

"The group became increasingly more aggressive and started pelting the manager and the police members with stones while advancing again towards the direction of the truck and its load," said Mills.

She confirmed that police did use live ammunition, but said the officers feared for their lives and that of the truck driver.

Mills said the incident was still subject to investigation.

Shazi said one of the people who were injured was an 8-year-old boy who was struck by a bullet in the leg, while a 22-year-old woman was hit by a bullet in her thigh.

“All the people who were shot had done nothing. They were bystanders hit by stray bullets. I don’t understand how police can be so reckless with guns. The police claim they were hit by stones yet there is no evidence of that on the crime scene and no injured policemen,” he said.

Residents have planned to march to the Mzamba police station on Friday to hand over a petition about police brutality.

Read more on:    police  |  east london  |  crime

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