Seventeen people have been arrested in Boikhutso outside Lichtenburg in North West for alleged looting following a week of unrest sparked by a child’s death after allegedly being hit by a police vehicle.
Among the suspects, 11 were male and six were female, including many children.
They were arrested after being found in possession of suspected stolen goods.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said on Friday that the suspects were arrested after an operation to trace those who had looted shops this week.
Prior to the looting, angry residents set alight two police vehicles and an ambulance. This after a police vehicle allegedly hit an eight-year-old boy, who was later certified dead on the scene.
“It was during the incident that goods were looted from the first tuck shops. Of the 17 suspects, two were charged and warned to appear in the Lichtenburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday for possession of suspected stolen goods and public violence,” said Mokgwabone.
“The other 15 suspects were released pending social workers’ assessment reports in terms of the Child Justice Act. They are currently placed under the care of their parents and will be assessed between 5 May and 14 May.”
It is alleged that a police dog unit vehicle, driven by a 48-year-old warrant officer, hit the child, who ran from a yard to cross Kudu Street on Tuesday at approximately 1pm.
“Subsequent to the incident, members of the community set alight two police vehicles and the ambulance. Furthermore, a local municipality traffic vehicle was pelted with stones. Following the incident, three police officials and two paramedics were taken to the hospital for medical examination,” Mokgwabone said.
“Earlier that day, there was an accident in which a 17-year-old teenager died on the scene after being hit by an Isuzu bakkie at about 10.20am along the Ottosdal-Lichtenburg road near Blydeville.”
He said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating a culpable homicide case while police are investigating a case of public violence against members of the community.