Cape Argus, 7 January 2008

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Seventeen people have been released on a warning after a fellow resident's shop was torched in Soshanguve South, Pretoria police said today. "Preliminary investigations showed that they could not be linked to the incident," said spokesman Captain Lucas Sithole. The four women and 13 men were released from the Akasia police station on a warning after the shop of a foreigner living in the area was burned on Sunday afternoon. Nobody was injured as there was nobody in the shack at the time. Trouble started on Saturday night when locals set alight three shacks belonging to foreigners in an apparent revenge attack. Several people were injured in the incident. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd. Police on the scene said community members claimed that the owner of the shop knew the killer or killers of a local resident who was murdered last month. It is not clear how the victim - who has already been buried - was killed. Police said they had asked people to come forward with information regarding the killing, but no one had done so. One resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there had been an increase in crime in the area over the past few months and residents blamed foreigners for the crimes, which included armed robbery, mugging, housebreaking and murder. "We have had enough of these Zimbabweans and Mozambicans who are involved in criminal activities. Most of them are unemployed and they rob people of their belongings," she said. The resident said the police had failed to solve many of the cases. "These foreigners commit crimes because they know they cannot be traced by the police because they do not have identity documents," she said. Police spokesman Captain Lucas Sithole said the situation was under control and police would be keeping a close watch in the area. He said the situation was still tense late yesterday and that police were patrolling the area.