Police chief: We are not overwhelmed by protests

2015-01-23 10:06
(Mikzo, Twitter)

(Mikzo, Twitter)

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WATCH: Looting continues in Soweto as police assist foreign nationals

2015-01-23 08:29

The number of people arrested for looting in several areas around Soweto has risen from 68 to 121. Looting continues as police assist foreign nationals move out of Soweto. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Dozens of people arrested in a series of looting incidents were expected to appear in courts around Soweto on Friday, said police.

At least another 39 people were nabbed as police monitored the township on Thursday night, bringing the total number of arrested to 121, said Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba.

He said the police were managing the situation.

"Police aren't overwhelmed," Mothiba told reporters at the Moroka police station in Soweto.

Violence broke out between foreigners and locals in Snake Park near Dobsonville on Monday, killing at least two people -- a local teenager and a foreign national.

The teenager was shot dead, allegedly by a foreign national who said he fired a warning shot when a mob tried to loot his shop.

On Wednesday night, a foreign national was killed when looting continued.

More police officers from all around the province had been brought in to assist.


Mothiba said they hoped to have the situation diffused by the weekend.

One reporter asked Mothiba whether he was aware of allegations made by some locals that police officers stood by and watched while the looting took place.

Mothiba denied this was the case.

"The public need to know how police deal with public disorder," said Mothiba.

He explained that on Thursday, he was part of a small police team that responded to a looting incident in Dobsonville.

They arrived at the scene but could not immediately act as they waited for back-up.

Mothiba said in all the incidents they reported to, they tried to "avoid the loss of life."

Police were not going to tolerate people who chose to take the law into their own hands, he said.

Those arrested faced charges ranging from murder, attempted murder, possession of suspected stolen property and fraud.

Police had also retrieved 11 guns, ten of which were seized from foreign nationals.

The shop owner accused of killing the teenager appeared in court on Thursday.

"He was denied bail," said Mothiba, adding that the man would return to court on 28 January.

Information around the killing of the foreign national on Wednesday was scarce and no arrests had been made.

Reports of a third death could not be confirmed by the police.

Read more on:    soweto  |  xenophobia  |  soweto unrest  |  crime

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