Nelspruit - Five foreign nationals were arrested on Tuesday for alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, Mpumalanga police said.
The men - believed to be from Somalia and Ethiopia - were arrested in Pienaar, near Nelspruit, Colonel Leonard Hlathi said.
The men were arrested after police received information that foreign nationals were firing shots at people who were vandalising and looting their shops during a protest.
Police recovered nine Norinco 9mm pistols and ammunition.
The men, aged between 25 and 45, are expected to appear in the Kabokweni Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.