Police are on high alert in the Lusikisiki and Port St Johns areas in the Eastern Cape, following ongoing taxi violence that has claimed three lives and left at least six others injured.
According to provincial police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu, preliminary reports indicate that on Tuesday morning, two taxi associations were engaged in a shootout at the Port St Johns taxi rank.
“It is further alleged that three security officials from one taxi association from Lusikisiki were fatally injured.”
She said five other people from the Port St Johns side sustained gunshot wounds.
“During the attack, an 11-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet and was taken to hospital for treatment.”
Naidu said in addition, three vehicles were torched.
Naidu said multi-disciplinary forces are on the ground.
“Nine suspects have been arrested so far, and police will remain in the area until the situation stabilises.”
Naidu said all nine suspects are expected to appear in court soon.
In condemning the attack, provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene urged feuding taxi associations to work together and find amicable solutions to their ongoing disagreements.
“Such lawlessness will not be tolerated, as innocent lives are at risk.”
Mene called on all stakeholders to come forward and engage in constructive discussions.
“And to urgently find a solution so as to avoid further loss of life,” he said.