Police make headway in Phoenix massacre probe as 31 people arrested

Police minister Bheki Cele says there is headway in the Phoenix massacre as a total of 31 people have been arrested.
Police minister Bheki Cele says there is headway in the Phoenix massacre as a total of 31 people have been arrested.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Police minister Bheki Cele on Sunday said the police were making headway in their investigation into the Phoenix massacre with 31 people having been arrested.

“We expect the number to grow,” said Cele as he addressed the Lamontville community where a female civilian was shot dead during a police raid two weeks ago.

The woman died during a shoot-out between the police and unknown gunmen.

“The number of the people we regard as instigators remains at 12. That doesn't end there because there are many that have been identified and the police are identifying more,” he said.

Speaking about the Lamontville incident in which the woman was killed, Cele said he had met with community leaders who asked him to address the community.

“They insisted that I come here and speak to the community. I have spoken to the community and they are angry and it is their right to be angry.

“The Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] is investigating the matter [the Lamontville incident]. They haven't come back with the results on that one. The issue they are raising is that the community is not coming forward with information,” Cele said.

He appealed to the community to come forward with information that could assist Ipid in its investigation into the killing of the woman.

“We must find out what happened. For us to find out what happened we need to investigate.”

He said it was unfortunate that someone had died during the crossfire.

“It's an unfortunate situation. The police will not stop [doing raids]. They raid because there is information.”

He said the police had received information that there was stolen food, appliances and ammunition in Lamontville.

“There was no way the police could not come. It's an unfortunate situation that there could be that resistance but there is no way the police could not come.”

Tensions have flared between Indians and black Africans over killings that took place in Phoenix, north of Durban, during the riots and looting, leading to the #PhoenixMassacre trending last month.

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