Cele: 112 illegal firearms discovered in Phoenix following unrest

The town made news headlines after the killing of 36 people by alleged vigilantes.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

DURBAN - Police Minister Bheki Cele said 112 illegal firearms were discovered in Phoenix, north of Durban, following last month's civil unrest.

The town made news headlines after the killing of 36 people by alleged vigilantes.

Cele, who addressed the media in Durban on Tuesday, said the deaths would not go unpunished.

OPINION: Phoenix violence - Indians’ dangerous colour complex

He said what started out as residents protecting their communities from looters soon took a racial turn.

“Problems started when some people were operating the checkpoints and turned to vigilantism and started racially profiling people, preventing them entry into the suburb. This amounted to unlawful discrimination and restriction of movement for many African people.”

Cele said out of the 36 people reported dead in Phoenix, 33 were African and three were of Indian descent.

The minister said 22 people had since been arrested, the majority of whom were residents.

He said in total, police were investigating 52 cases of attempted murder and 25 incidents of assault.

WATCH: Phoenix update: 36 deaths, 22 arrested

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