Cops search for arson suspects after MKMVA-led march against foreign-owned shops

At least two shops and a stall belonging to a street vendor were set alight.

FILE: Police said one person had been arrested. Picture: 123rf.

DURBAN - Police in KwaZulu-Natal are searching for a group of people who looted and torched foreign-owned businesses in the Durban CBD.

This happened during a march led by the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) in the province on Monday.

At least two shops and a stall belonging to a street vendor were set alight.

The MKMVA earlier handed over a memorandum to Premier Sihle Zikalala’s office in which they detailed their anti-foreigner sentiment.

They’re also opposed to the current lockdown restrictions, the mandatory wearing of masks and vaccinations against COVID-19.

The police’s Jay Naicker said so far, one person had been arrested.

“He attempted to stab police officers during the arrest but was quickly subdued without injury to the arresting officers. Some stolen items were recovered from the arrested suspect,” he added.

R400K WORTH OF STOCK LOST

A businessman who owns a shop in the Durban CBD estimates that he lost as much as R400,000 worth of stock after his premises were looted and set alight on Monday morning.

Bangladeshi national Mohammad Belal Hossain has told Eyewitness News that his shop was ransacked during a march led by the MKMVA.

Hossain said he arrived in South Africa from Bangladesh in 2014, hoping to create a better life for himself.
But his hard work over the past seven years has been eroded.

“The people came all at once, looting and then threw a petrol bomb inside.”

His wife Rima claims the looting and burning of their shop happened in the presence of the eThekwini metro police who were patrolling the area.

“There were about 15 or 20 of them that came. They just started throwing petrol bombs or whatever it was inside the shop and the fire started. We saved ourselves first and when we came out, there was a metro cop outside. We ran to him to ask for help but he was calling somebody else. By that time, everything was already gone in the shop.”

Naicker said one person had been charged with attempted murder but this was in connection with an attack on other businesses.

A case of public violence is also being investigated as police search for more suspects.

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