South Africa 15.4.2015 01:56 pm

Violence strikes Durban CBD again

FILE PICTURE: An Ethopian woman holds her countries flag at the Durban city hall  showing the blood of her brother who was hit along the Pixley Ka Seme street in Durban.
Picture Phumlani Thabethe

FILE PICTURE: An Ethopian woman holds her countries flag at the Durban city hall showing the blood of her brother who was hit along the Pixley Ka Seme street in Durban. Picture Phumlani Thabethe

Violence flared again in Durban city centre around lunchtime on Wednesday after a foreign national allegedly stabbed two men who had been sitting in a car.

Bystanders witnessed a Somali national approach the men while they were sitting inside a car on the corner of Ingcuce and Dr Goonam streets in Durban. He allegedly smashed the car windows and stabbed the men repeatedly before fleeing the scene into a nearby block of flats. However, police officers cornered him inside and managed to arrest him.

Police were then forced to fire warning shots to disperse a crowd that had gathered, sending people scattering in all directions.

Meanwhile, police in KwaZulu-Natal said five people had been confirmed dead and 74 arrested during the unrest which has hit areas of Durban over the past week.

“The violence has claimed five lives from the end of March to date, with one of the victims being a 14-year-old youth,” police spokesperson Jay Naicker said. “Seventy four arrests have been effected thus far for offences including murder, public violence, business robbery, theft and possession of firearms and ammunition.”

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni condemned the attacks directed towards foreigners that had spread in Durban south and other areas around Durban over the past week.

“As a result of these attacks, I have added more manpower to the affected areas to maintain the situation while negotiations are taking place to resolve the situation,” Ngobeni said. “While the police are doing everything to restore peace and stability, I appeal to the community to refrain from attacking each other. We once again discourage people from taking the law into their own hands and caution that those found to be breaking the law will be prosecuted. They must stop committing criminal activities and report those suspects wanted by the police for crimes that were already reported in the area.”

Ngobeni thanked members of the public who had assisted police to effect arrests and restore order in volatile situations. She also instructed detectives investigating the current violence-related cases, to work closely with the prosecuting authorities to ensure that the cases were “thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators of violence brought to book as this will deter others from engaging in such criminal conduct in the future”.

“The SAPS makes an earnest appeal to those who are posting false information in the social media, to please desist from doing so,” police said in a statement. “Spreading false information on the number of deaths and attacks, the different areas that are being attacked and hate speech aimed at foreign nationals not only causes undue panic in communities but also have the potential to fuel the violence. The responsible use of social media can contribute greatly in our fight against crime by making people aware of the consequences of engaging in criminal activity, ways to safeguard themselves and their property against criminals and to help police identify and find suspects.”

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