Anger over ‘mob’ arrests

2014-10-09 00:00

ANGRY members of the Copesville community stormed Mountain Rise police station yesterday, demanding the release of 15 people arrested following Tuesday’s vigilante attack in the area.

Police said that seven men and eight women aged between 27 and 58 years, were arrested in the early hours yesterday in connection with Tuesday’s double murder and arson.

The victims — two men who were allegedly suspected of committing crime in the area — were reportedly hauled out of their homes, beaten and set alight by an enraged mob.

Singing struggle songs, residents said yesterday the arrests of elderly women in connection with the matter was unjustified. “The police invaded their homes and arrested people who they believe are the suspects. There were more than 200 people who participated. How do they know it’s them?” asked one resident.

“I don’t think an elderly woman could wake up at midnight and attack people. Some have grandchildren at home who are alone,” she said.

“Others who were detained needed medication and hadn’t taken their pills,” said another resident who was too scared to give her name.

Police initially arrested three suspects on Tuesday, followed by the additional arrests yesterday.

Provincial police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said a 27-year-old man who is among the arrested suspects, is also charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

“He was found in possession of a home-made shotgun with two live rounds of ammunition. A panga and a knife believed to be used in the murder were also found in the area,” Zwane said.

He said the arrested suspects are expected to appear in court soon.

Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu condemned the brutal killings in the area and warned people against taking law into their hands.

“I am shocked at this incident … While we understand the anger of the community in this case, it is proper to work with the police in dealing with such matters … We are confident that the hand of justice will again prevail,” he said.


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