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Breakthrough in Emmanuel Sithole murder case

Three men have been arrested in connection with the Mozambican national’s killing in Alexandra.

A plain clothes policeman stands at the ready during raids in Alexandra township amid violence sparked by xenophobic attacks in April 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN"

JOHANNESBURG - Police have moved swiftly to arrest three suspects in connection with the murder of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole, who was stabbed in Alexandra at the weekend.

Photographs of Sithole being attacked while pleading for his life were published in the Sunday Times yesterday, and sparked a nationwide reaction.

Stalked, stabbed, killed in Alexandra for being from Mozambique. RIP Emmanuel Sithole. Xenophobic South Africa I cry. pic.twitter.com/2XPRsKXfeU

Seven people, including a 14-year-old South African boy, have now been killed in the latest flare up of xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

With the suspects still due to make their first court appearance, the police aren't saying much at this stage.

But spokesman Lungelo Dlamini says residents in Alexandra played a big role.

"A manhunt for the fourth suspect is continuing. The suspects were arrested in Alexandra with the help from members of the community."

He says, "Several exhibits that may be used as evidence were seized during the arrests. The suspects are due to appear in the Alexandra Magistrates Court tomorrow."

It's not yet clear whether the man photographed stabbing Sithole is among those arrested.

Police say those now in custody will be in the dock at the Alexandra Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

PHOTOGRAPHER RUSHED SITHOLE TO HOSPITAL

The photographer who captured Sithole's images, James Oatway, says he was alerted to the commotion by some screaming, and rushed over to document what was going on.

He says the stabbing now feels surreal, like he watched it on television.

Oatway says they rushed Sithole to hospital and at first didn't think he was in mortal danger.

"He was still very conscious. I tried speaking to him a bit but I couldn't really understand what he was saying. I really didn't think that he was going to die because he still had a lot of energy."

He says he believes he did exactly what a photo-journalist is supposed to, and his only regret is the time lost at the first clinic, which was unable to help Sithole.

LISTEN - Sunday Times photojournalist James Oatway witnessed & reported on the killing of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole in Alexandra.

It's understood Sithole was selling cigarettes on the side of a road when he was confronted by four men.

An argument ensued when the group took the goods without paying.

Authorities on Sunday offered a reward of up to R100,000 for information related to his murder.

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