5 arrested, 2 injured in Atteridgeville taxi turf war

2018-05-29 16:48

Five people were arrested in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, on Tuesday after a shootout between taxi operators, in an ongoing turf war which has already left two people injured.

According to taxi owners, who asked not to be named, a feud has broken out between operators over routes in Atteridgeville. One taxi driver was beaten so badly on Monday evening that he is now in an intensive care unit in Kalafong Hospital.

"People are fed up, they want people to leave," said one taxi owner. He said the turf war had been started by operators who had come from KwaZulu-Natal.

He said, following the attack on the driver, taxi operators decided to block all major routes in Atteridgeville on Tuesday morning.

Suspects arrested following a shootout between taxi operators in Atteridgeville on Tuesday. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

 

Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said officers had used rubber bullets to disperse crowds blocking the entrances of WF Nkomo and Kalafong roads.

"After we dispersed the crowd, they moved to Maunde Street and tried again to block the main road," said Mahamba.

ALSO READ: Bloody weekend as 10 people killed in Cape Town taxi violence

In Maunde Street, the clashes turned violent, as a shootout ensued between taxi operators.

"We can confirm that shots were fired between the two taxi associations while they were fighting. We, as police, had to intervene and that’s when we arrested five people, and they will be charged with attempted murder, public violence and taxi violence."

The police Tactical Response Unit and the Gauteng Traffic Police Saturation Unit searched thick foliage in nearby hills, where the suspects had fled for cover.

At one point, residents also ran into the hills after spotting one of the suspects hiding. They started fires in the bushes in an attempt to smoke the suspects out of their hiding spots.

Suspects arrested following a shootout between taxi operators in Atteridgeville on Tuesday. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Mahamba said that one person had been assaulted by residents. He had been rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

Residents celebrated and applauded police as the suspects were taken away in Nyalas.

"We will continue looking for them. We are going to search, we have names, we have possible suspects that we are searching for, and we will make sure that we arrest them," said Mahamba.

"We want to assure residents of Atteridgeville that we are going to restore order and will continue to be here."

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