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Pretoria - At least nine people were injured when they clashed with Tshwane Metro Police in Pienaarspoort on Tuesday over the demolition of a shop owned by a foreigner.
Pienaarspoort Plot 45 residents said metro police officers came into the area in the morning and tried to demolish the shack where Abdinur Yusuuf Abdi ran a small shop. Abdi is a Somali.
Mohammed Suleiman Ismael, who was at the store when the incident occurred, said: “There was no letter or notice. They just came and tried to remove the roof.
“The other people tried to help and the police left, but they came back a while later.
“This time, when the community tried to help, they started shooting at them with rubber bullets.”
Ismael said the officers took coins and airtime vouchers from the till.
After the incident, residents used burning tyres and branches to barricade the road leading to the area.
Resident Ludwick Raphahla said when he tried to ask the officers to produce a notice for the demolition, he was struck on the head with the butt of a gun and thrown into muddy water.
“I was also shot with a rubber bullet. What makes me so angry is that this is not the first time this has happened.
“The metro police always come here and destroy people’s shacks without following procedure.”
Another resident, Merriam Thinamufni, said her daughter had been hit in the eye by rubber bullets.
“My daughter was not even part of this whole thing. She works as a security guard and was patrolling the railway line on a horse when she was shot. She has now lost her eye.”
Boschkop police station commander Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg said: “For now that is a rumour. People have been injured and sent to hospital, but we are not aware of the extent of the injuries. There is also talk that one of the women was shot in the leg by a live bullet. She has been sent to hospital and we will determine if it is a rubber bullet. If it is not, we will open an attempted murder case.”
Van Rensburg said the police, metro police and community leaders would meet on Wednesday to try to solve the matter. The police would also help residents open cases against the metro police.