Death toll in Phoenix violence has risen to 36 - Cele

The victims are believed to have been killed by vigilantes during the recent unrest last month.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala (left) and Police Minister Bheki Cele at a briefing on 3 August 2021 on developments related to the looting and riots that happened in the province in July. Picture: Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News

DURBAN - Police Minister Bheki Cele said that the number of people killed in Phoenix, north of Durban, during civil unrest in the country three weeks ago had now increased to 36.

Speaking at the Inanda Police Station in Durban, Cele said 30 of the deceased were shot.

He said that two others were burnt to death.

Minister Cele said that one person was stabbed to death while another was run over by a motor vehicle.

"Two others died from the brutal injuries they sustained after being assaulted," the minister said.

He said that 22 suspects had since been arrested and several cases were being investigated.

"In total, police are investigating 52 cases of attempted murder and 9 cases of common assault and 16 cases of assault GBH."

The minister said that the killings, which also took a racial turn, would not go unpunished.

"Over and above that, this briefing is meant to illustrate the work done by law enforcement to ensure that the Gunquza, Mnukwa, Ndlovu, Nkomo, Lukhuzo, Nzuza, Nsele, Jiyane, Ngema, Ngidi, Mkhize, Majola, Chetty, Mwamba, Ncwane, Canza, Mfeka, Mchunu, Muchave, Khumalo, Hadebe, Mthembu, Naidoo, Govender, Nomnqa, Gama, Tshecwa, Zuma, Chitawa, Msomi, Sibisi, Thusi and Mkhize families find closure in knowing the truth about what happened to their loved ones. I want to assure these families that the police will continue their relentless pursuit of the killers and their accomplices. We are committed to upholding the law and seeking justice," Minister Cele said.

WATCH: Phoenix update: 36 deaths, 22 arrested

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