Foreign shop owners flee Middelburg

18 October 2018 - 10:31 By Iavan Pijoos
Police said all foreign shops had been closed and the shop owners were removed.
Police said all foreign shops had been closed and the shop owners were removed.
Image: Reuben Goldberg

Police have asked foreign shop owners to pack up and vacate the town of Middelburg in Mpumalanga after violent protests in the area.

"All the foreign shops are closed and the shop owners have been removed for their safety‚" police spokesperson Colonel Mtsholi Bhembe said on Thursday morning.

Violence erupted in the area on Wednesday after the remains of a 25-year-old woman were discovered. The woman was found by a passerby with a plastic bag over her head and her body wrapped in a blanket. Police discovered that she may have been burnt with a hot plate and stabbed or cut with sharp objects.

A 26-year-old man was arrested for the murder. He is expected to appear in the Middelburg Magistrate's Court. Bhembe said several properties were looted and damaged.

"There was looting until late yesterday [Wednesday] evening‚ but police were able to contain the situation and disperse the crowd."

Cases of public violence‚ theft and malicious damage to property were opened. No arrests were made.

On Thursday morning‚ community members gathered at the scene where the woman's remains were found. Bhembe said the situation was calm.

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