Imbali residents protest arrest of policeman after mob killing

2012-03-19 00:00

IMBALI residents are irate at the arrest of their policeman neighbour, for murder and attempted murder, related to vigilantism.

They say that if police want to hold the sergeant, who is based at Town Hill Police Station, they should arrest them all.

He is expected to appear in court today following the death of Sphamandla Majola (23) and the assault of Celi Ntaka (22) and Mwazi Majola (18), who are both in a serious condition in hospital.

Community members from Unit 18 in the township insist that the policeman had been forced to participate in vigilante activity on Thursday night.

This, after they heard from a man they had apprehended that he had even stolen the policeman’s firearm.

“As he is a member of the community, we forced him to be part of us,” one of them said.

“He did nothing wrong. He did not assault them. He is the one that asked the community not to assault them.”

The source said that the policeman had rather managed to persuade the suspect to show them where stolen goods had been hidden.

The community staged a sit-in at the Plessislaer police station following the policeman’s arrest on Friday afternoon, demanding his release.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, the people from Imbali’s Unit 18 told The Witness yesterday that criminals made them live in fear of their lives.

“We reported this case to the police, but they did nothing. They just asked us whom we suspected.

“I think that is why we decided to handle this case.

“A schoolboy was recently robbed at gunpoint for his cellphone. He had also been stripped naked.

“Most of our houses are targeted. They come during the day or the night and break in, taking everything they want from electric appliances to clothing,” one of them said.

“We use whistles to call each other when we see them breaking into the houses or when we hear noises like when they break the doors and remove wall blocks.”

The sergeant has also been a victim and has been robbed.

“We’ve lost trust in the police,” said a community member. They know that we report these cases and they do nothing, but now they have arrested someone who did not do any­thing wrong.”

A police spokesperson confirmed that a case of murder and two of attempted murder were being investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) as it involved a member of the force.

The ICD could not be reached for comment.

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