Sunday World

Phoenix suspects arrested

Six Indian males linked to deaths

- Sandile Motha

Seven Indian men have been arrested and linked to the brutal killings of more than 20 people in Phoenix, north of Durban, which were carried out during the violent mass looting of businesses in Kwazulu-natal and Gauteng.

Police in Kwazulu-natal declined to attach the racial demographi­cs of the suspects fearing that it would flare up racial tensions.

Sunday World has since establishe­d that in the early hours of Friday morning, police swooped on four alleged key movers in the atrocities. They are believed to have supplied guns to the vigilante groups.

A member of a community structure representi­ng the communitie­s of Zwelisha, Bhambayi and Amawoti, establishe­d to assist police in their probe into the mass murders, confirmed that the arrests were made.

“We hope this will be a breakthrou­gh, out of the five suspects, one of them was already inside. He was arrested on Friday. All of them are of Indian heritage,” explained Thula Dlamini, a member of the community forum.

A 10-member team of detectives was assembled to investigat­e the circumstan­ces that led to the killings. It is headed by Major-general Mandlenkos­i Chirwa.

Police Minister Bheki Cele cautioned against inflating the number of the deceased and racial profiling of the murders, saying they should be regarded as pure acts of criminalit­y instead. His plea came after it emerged that more than 128 bodies were languishin­g at a government mortuary in Phoenix.

“We are adding more pathologis­ts so we can accelerate post-mortems. This is the only way we will know whether the 128 bodies were because of what happened in Phoenix,” said Cele.

Meanwhile, EFF MP Makoti Khawula, who has been assisting the bereaved families, said most of the Phoenix victims were shot in the back execution style with some suffering deadly head injuries.

 ??  ?? Bheki Cele
Bheki Cele

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