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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

SANDF deployed to Durban after violent attacks from rioters

Two people, including a tuckshop owner, were shot and wounded during the attack.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and South African Police Service (SAPS) have been deployed to Shastri Park in Phoenix, Durban, after residents clashed with neighbouring Zwelisha informal settlement community members.

On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of armed rioters stormed the bridge that runs over a small river which separates the two communities, and allegedly opened fire in the predominantly Indian area.

Desperate residents posted frantic pleas for help and back-up on several WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups as rioters threw stones and stormed their properties. Residents who spoke to The Citizen anonymously recounted harrowing threats made by the marauders.

“They said they would burn our families in our homes,” said a mother of two who instructed her children aged between 4 and 14 years to hide.

Two people, including a tuckshop owner, were shot and wounded during the attack. They are receiving medical attention, but there’s no further information on their conditions.

Angry Zwelisha community members had stormed Shastri Park after local authorities instructed community patrollers to remove their makeshift barricades. Shastri Park community members say the attacks took place soon after the barricades were removed.

“Our husbands and brothers are in the front lines trying to guard the entrance to the area, and they are not even properly armed. They are carrying spades and bush knives,” said the mother.

Shastri Park community elders had met with the local chiefs in Zwelisha on Monday and agreed that there would be no violence between the two communities.

“I don’t know why we are being attacked. The people across the river from us are our housekeepers and people we help with food and second-hand clothing and furniture when we can. I can’t understand why they want to harm us now,” said the woman.

Community leaders met again today, and Zwelisha chiefs promised that the attacks would stop. The chief asked that neighbourhood patrols allow township residents to cross the bridge without being harmed. Calm has been restored to the area and remains under guard by the SANDF.

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