081111 RUTHLESS: The Nyawupe girl was punched and kicked by residents after she stole the sound system. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

Thekwane, North West - Violence broke out at Thekwane village, near Rustenburg, when the police intervened in a mob justice attack, North West police said on Tuesday.

About 200 people assaulted an alleged robber with sticks and stones on Monday evening, said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

“The police tried to calm the situation down by agreeing with members of the community to gather at a local school in order to explain and clarify the procedure,” he said in a statement.

“When the police arrived at the school, they found the gate blocked with stones. While trying to clear the gate, the community started attacking the police by throwing stones.”

Ngubane said five police cars were damaged.

“The police retaliated with warning shots, trying to disperse the volatile community members,” he said.

Ngubane said police arrested the alleged robber. The 33-year-old man had to be hospitalised.

No other injuries were reported, he said. - Sapa