Police battle as xenophobic violence boils over in Durban

By Drum Digital
14 April 2015

Wide-scale looting erupted across Durban’s townships on Monday night as tensions fuelled by anti-foreigner rhetoric boiled over.

Several people have been killed and thousands more displaced as the violent attacks on the basis of ethnicity continued unabated.

On Monday night, KwaMashu was electric as gangs moved from shop to shop.

To date, the sporadic violence had only been seen in Durban’s southern basin.

Hundreds of police officers, deployed to the city from all corners of KwaZulu-Natal, were stretched thin as thousands of people descended on foreign owned shops.

As officers battled to protect foreign nationals who desperately tried to salvage what was left of their belongings, locals forced their way into shops and made off with food and goods before setting the shops ablaze.

Officers from the Public Order Policing Unit, specially trained to disperse and disarm violent crowds using non-lethal methods, were overrun as shops were looted in several sections of both Umlazi and KwaMashu at the same time.

The policemen, clad in full riot gear and armed with shotguns, raced from section to section and waged bitter battles against looters who retaliated with bottles and rocks.

Netcare911 paramedics were dispatched to the township with a police escort after a report that a child had been shot in the head.

This incident could not be confirmed.

Source: News24wire.com

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