Looters target foreign-owned shops in Joburg

2015-04-17 08:12

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Johannesburg - Policed nabbed 12 people in Jeppestown overnight for trying to loot foreign-owned shops, as State Security Minister David Mahlobo vowed to bring instigators to book.

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Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said Jeppestown in Johannesburg was the only place where violence was reported on Thursday night.

He could not confirm that some cars were set alight, but said there were people targeting foreign shops again.

"Twelve suspects were arrested for trying to break into foreign-owned shops," said Dlamini.

"There were no reports of injuries."

'Co-ordinated effort'

The state security minister said in an interview broadcast on Eyewitness News he suspected the attacks on foreign nationals that started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng, were part of a "co-ordinated effort".

Five people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed since unrest broke out over last weekend. On Thursday, a peace march against xenophobia turned violent when the police clashed with pockets of protesters.

Earlier this week, messages warning foreigners of imminent attacks in Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria were spread via SMS and WhatsApp.

"Just those prank messages is a co-ordinated effort," said Mahlobo. "But the intelligence services, they are hard at work.

"We know that there are instigators in those various communities and these are the individuals that we are going to bring... to book."

The minister said citizens would not just wake up one morning and decide to embark on violent action.

"Attacks on foreign nationals, issues of defacing statues, are becoming very co-ordinated. The issues of land invasion, these are the things that are becoming co-ordinated. We are keeping our eyes wide open... there is a common theme of lawlessness."


Read more on:    david mahlobo  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  looting

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