Xeno attackers in court

2015-04-22 00:00

TWENTY-SEVEN people have appeared in court in Pietermaritzburg and Howick so far this week in connection with attacks on foreign nationals.

They include a man charged with the murder of a Bangladeshi shop owner in the Edendale area on April 12, which authorities are treating as a possible xenophobic incident although it occurred before the wave of attacks began in Pietermaritzburg three days later.

Phoka Mofokeng (33) of Swapo, Copesville, is charged with shooting Bangladesh national Shofiqul Alam Aminur at Machibisa Ngcobo Store at Machibisa location on April 4. Mofokeng was not asked to plead to any charges when he appeared in court yesterday, and his case was postponed to April 29 for a bail application.

According to sources at court, all cases involving foreigners are currently being dealt with as if they were motivated by ­xenophobia.

After full investigations into the available evidence have been conducted, final determinations will be made on whether the motives were criminal or xenophobic.

Records are being kept of every case involving foreign nationals.

In the majority of cases, the suspects are alleged to have taken part in mob violence in which shop owners were either threatened and robbed, or shops were broken into and looted. In one incident a store was allegedly set alight.

S. Ngubane ( 27), K. Mthembu (34) and K. Nene (25) are charged with robbing Ethiopian bottle store owner Tamsgeut Aramo in the Plessislaer area on April 15;

N. Sithole (25), K. Michael Mbhele (24) and M. Shandu (30) are charged with attempted murder and arson relating to an attack on Ethiopians Cezachew Lacheo (31) and Andrew Lachamo (38) in the Mountain Rise district on April 18; and B. Langa (22), S. Sikhakane (27), S. Dlamini (25) and S. Mbatha (30) are charged with housebreaking, and the intimidation and robbery of Mituku Ulor (37) at Plessislaer on April 15.

M. Gwala (20) is charged with housebreaking and the robbery of Bangladesh national Ariful Islam (21) on April 17; N. Msomi (27), A. Makhanye (26), T. Dlamini (22) and S. Ngcobo (26) are charged with the armed robbery of Thafamo Laramo, whose nationality was not reflected.

A youth of 16 is charged with two counts of theft from Malawians Francis James (31) and Cassim Amick (32); Vulizwe Nxele (29), Ndaba Hlongwane (31) and Sbonelo Mkhize (33) are charged with the assault and intimidation of shop owner Taylor Gomani on April 19.

All the accused — except for E. Mkhize, who faces a single count of crimen injuria (verbal abuse) — were remanded pending bail applications. Mkhize was released on bail pending his next court appearance.

Meanwhile, at Howick, six men appeared on charges of public violence, alternatively housebreaking with intent to rob, and theft. They are: Thulani Mnikathi (20), Sizwe Mntambo (19), Andile Khumalo (19), Lucky Manyoni (18), Sizwe Ntombela (21) and Mzwandile Duma (21).

They were also remanded pending bail applications.

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