- In a media briefing on Tuesday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele clarified what happened in Phoenix amid violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal
- Cele stated that a number of people were shot, stabbed, burnt alive and others were assaulted in the Durban suburb
- He added that Phoenix community members put illegal checkpoints in place that racially discriminated against black people
DURBAN - Police Minister Bheki Cele set the record straight on the murders that took place in the suburb of Phoenix in Durban during the unrest last month in a media briefing on Tuesday.
Bheki Cele says illegal roadblocks had been set up in Phoenix to target a certain race
Cele stated that community members set up illegal roadblocks to prevent entry into Phoenix, resulting in killings, violence, shootings as well as assault of people based on race, according to SABC News.
"Some set up armed search points and the situation rapidly deteriorated with some people being racially profiled at search points," Cele said, according to a quote by IOL.
He stated that the illegal roadblocks mainly affected African people. A few of those who died as a result of the violence in Phoenix were of Indian descent.
Cele confirmed that 36 people had been killed, 30 people had been shot and two were burnt alive, one was stabbed and another was run over while two were assaulted, which resulted in their deaths.
Arrests have been made, 22 suspects have appeared in court
Cele added that the 22 suspects have already appeared in court and some of the arrested suspects already have other cases pending relating to murder and attempted murder.
Cele identifies 1 murder that may have sparked further killings
Cele speculates that the murder of a bakkie owner who had looted goods by four men may have been the catalyst for the violence seen in Phoenix. Cele also highlighted that people were attacked irrespective of age and gender.
“Irrespective of gender or age, some motorists were allegedly forcefully taken out of their motor vehicles and then assaulted with baseball bats, bricks and sticks. Some people were even butchered with bush knives and other sharp instruments," said Cele.
Phoenix matter is receiving attention, says President Cyril Ramaphosa
Briefly News previously reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa noted the government's concern over the events that occurred in Phoenix, Durban in which about 30 people were killed.
Ramaphosa on Thursday said the matter is receiving attention at political, security and criminal levels while some have labelled the recent events in the community as acts of vigilantism.
"We empathise with them because some of the incidents that took place in Phoenix are simply what we do not want to have in our country. So, the Phoenix matter remains top of mind and we want to examine it in all its aspects to see precisely what type of way forward we want to chart.”
Reports further suggest that some of the bodies of those killed are yet to be identified at a Phoenix mortuary. Ramaphosa explained that the government is tasked with separating fact from fiction in an effort to unearth as much information as possible.
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