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Cape Town – Following the arrest of a teenager in Lavender Hill on Wednesday, residents reportedly stoned police vehicles and fired shots, Western Cape police said on Thursday.

Captain Frederick van Wyk, police’s provincial spokesperson, said the attack came after members of Operation Combat apprehended a 16-year-old female suspect.

Operation Combat, the unit specialising in curbing gang activity and the drug trade, is a joint effort by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and City of Cape Town law enforcement agencies such as Metro Police.

Two and a half madrax tablets were found in her possession, tucked away in a roll of bank notes totalling R880.

Van Wyk explained that the suspect would be assessed by a probation officer.

He said that while police began to conclude their operation, angry residents began throwing stones at them.

“The crowd afterwards started to burn tyres and throw stones at all vehicles that passed by, as well as at the police vehicles,” said Van Wyk.

He said gunshots were also heard, allegedly from within the crowd, prompting police to fire warning shots into the sand to disperse residents.

Van Wyk said two Operation Combat vehicles were damaged.

“It was clear that the arrest of the minor suspect had sparked off the unrest,” he said.

While no arrests have been made, police have opened a case of public violence and malicious damage to property for investigation.

“We would like to reiterate that an attack on any law enforcement official is an attack on the State,” said Van Wyk.

“Our investigators are working tirelessly to ensure that the perpetrators of these attacks are brought to book,” he said, adding that as management of SAPS in the province, there was concern regarding the attacks.

“Nevertheless, we stand resolute in the fight against crime.”

Van Wyk urged communities to provide police with any information that could assist them in their investigation, guaranteeing anonymity.

Those wishing to do so could call Crime Stop on 086 100 10111.

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