Mpumalanga cop loses finger as chainsaw-wielding protester aims for his belly

2020-02-19 10:11
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A police officer monitoring a protest at the Boschfontein Periodical Court in Mpumalanga, lost a finger when he tried to fight off a protester who allegedly used a chainsaw to attack him on Monday. 

READ | Drunk Cape Town beachgoers attack officers who confiscated their booze

According to provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, a violent mob attacked the Schoemansdal station commander, one of the police officers tasked with maintaining law and order at the protest.

"One person from the mob approached the police officer with the chainsaw which was aimed at cutting his belly, but the officer managed to defend himself by using his hands to avoid being chopped," Hlathi said.

"Unfortunately, in the process, the station commander's finger was injured.

"Police have also learnt with great concern about malicious and misleading information making rounds on social media platforms where people publicly brag about being in possession of the station commander's finger. The police would like to condemn such barbaric behaviour which, instead of bragging, people should be ashamed to talk about."

Hlathi said there was also an incident of violence in Langeloop on Tuesday when police officers were attacked.

"One member of the public was shot and unfortunately, died as a result; however, the case was handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for further handling.

Burning and looting

"Reports were also received of criminality in Fernie, Acornhoek, Bushbuckridge, Langeloop where criminals posed as protesters and attacked a post office and stole computers, burned tyres, threatened to burn public buildings, used firearms to hijack trucks at gunpoint and looted groceries together with other items that were ferried on the trucks. Information further indicated that the trucks were used to blockade roads in some of these areas where protests were experienced."

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma condemned the incidents.

"People have a right to protest but it should be done within the ambit of the law. We have taken note of criminal elements that use protests as a shield to commit crime and even directly attack... police officers.

"It is very clear that this is purely lawlessness and criminality. We strongly condemn these acts of violence where our police officers are attacked by the so-called protesters who do not have respect [for] the laws of this country. I urge the public to take ownership of their infrastructure such as libraries, post offices, courts [and] schools. The public should not allow anyone to destroy these facilities in the name of a protest," Zuma said.

According to Hlathi, three people were arrested in Fernie on Monday for public violence and were expected to appear at the Mayflower Periodical Court on Wednesday.

"Meanwhile, 22 suspects were arrested in Langeloop for damaging essential infrastructure and sabotage. The 22 suspects are expected to appear in the Tonga Magistrate's Court on Wednesday."

Read more on:    police  |  mbombela  |  protests  |  crime
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