Heavy police presence in Port Elizabeth after third murder

2013-05-31 10:58

Police in northern Port Elizabeth saturated areas where violent protests had taken place.

“Currently the situation has stabilised. We haven’t had a report of any protest-related violence for the past 12 hours, and then also we are still enforcing maximum patrols and visibility,” said Eastern Cape police captain Stanley Jarvis today.

“We are going to saturate the area today with police vehicles and police presence.”

Police yesterday patrolled informal settlements in the northern part of the city after two days of unrest.

A Somali man was stabbed to death in Greenfields, Port Elizabeth, the third murder in the area this week.

The man was stabbed in the head, chest, and abdomen, Jarvis said.

It was alleged a group of people went to the Somali’s residence, where a confrontation ensued.

The man was taken to hospital, where he died. The motive for the attack was not yet known and no arrests had been made.

Police said the attack was not linked to the protests.

Jarvis said a case of murder and public violence had been opened.

The unrest was sparked by the murders of two men and the arrests of community leaders.

On Tuesday, police arrested three community leaders from Greenfields and Vastrap for the murders of two men accused of robbing a spaza shop.

After the arrests, residents blockaded roads with rocks, poles, bushes, bricks, and burning tyres, said Jarvis.

Police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Twelve people – five minors and seven adults – were arrested. They appeared in court on Wednesday and were released on a warning.

On Wednesday, violence flared up in Cleary Park and Timothy Valley. Jarvis said this was a spillover from Greenfields and Vastrap.

Ten people were arrested in Cleary Park for public violence after looting foreign-owned shops. They blockaded roads, burnt tyres, and threw stones at passing vehicles.

Jarvis on Wednesday said the crowd became “very aggressive” and police again used rubber bullets and stun grenades.

Timothy Valley residents also looted shops and barricaded roads. Police helped Somali shop owners pack their goods and escorted them to places of safety. Jarvis said most residents had returned to their homes yesterday.

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