Pietermaritzburg CBD at a standstill as looting spreads

2015-04-15 13:45
Riot police look on after looting in Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

Riot police look on after looting in Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Pietermaritzburg CBD came to a standstill on Wednesday after looters ransacked foreign-owned shops, forcing owners to close doors in fear of further xenophobic attacks, The Witness reported.

People in the city centre along Church, East and Retief streets were left in a state of panic as police vans swarmed the streets, monitoring the escalating situation.  

Streets became gridlocked and some were cordoned off.  

Owners witnessed looting and said businesses which remained open were doing so at their own risk.

In Howick, a small group was going around trying to loot shops, many of which closed their doors, The Witness said.

"We are seeing sporadic instances of looting and intimidation of foreign nationals. It is not on the grand scale like we have in KwaMashu, but there have been flare-ups all over the province," spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker told News24’s Jeff Wicks.

"We have responded accordingly."

A well-placed police source said earlier: "We have had reports of looting in Retief Street and Timber Street. We are getting the owners to close up show now. This thing is spreading and we have already been busy all morning in the Mountain Rise area."

At least five people have been killed in areas around Durban during several days of looting and violence against foreigners.

In Durban's CBD on Tuesday, a car was set alight and police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and teargas canisters in clashes between looters and foreigners.

A 14-year-old boy became the latest fatality on Monday night. He was shot dead during looting in KwaNdlanzi, allegedly by two security guards.

According to latest figures from the SA Police Service, 74 people have been arrested thus far for offences including murder, public violence, business robbery, theft and possession of firearms  and ammunition.

Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  xenophobia  |  looting  |  crime

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