Photo: ANA
RUSTENBURG - Rustenburg was calm on Wednesday afternoon after a Nigerian man was stabbed and doused with petrol.

Eyewitnesses said the Nigerian was delivering hair products at his hair salon on Bethlehem Drive when he was attacked and doused with petrol, but the police arrived at the time he was about to be set alight and rescued him.

Police fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse a crowd of protesters who complained after the police took the victim away.

North West police said the man was opening his hair salon when he was attacked, doused with petrol and stabbed.

It was believed he was attacked after reports went around that a taxi driver was shot dead on Tuesday night.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Pelonomi Makau said the police responded quickly and rescue him before he was set alight.

"No one has been arrested, the same people who attacked him blocked the intersection of Oliver Tambo and Bethlehem Drive," she said. 

Makau  dismissed allegations that a taxi driver was killed on Tuesday night.

She explained that six men went to rob a motor spare shop in the inner city on Tuesday night, but that police were tipped off about the incident and went to the scene. The suspected robbers fired shots at the police and the police returned fire, killing one of the robbers and arresting the rest.

"The police were travelling in an unmarked minibus taxi, the people saw the minibus taxi and a dead suspect and thought it was a taxi driver who was shot."

She said the suspects were found in possession of suspected stolen goods, as well as two unlicensed firearms.

After the police rescued the Nigerian national, the group of protesters barricaded the road near the taxi rank with burning objects and rubble and pelted the police with stones.

Shops near the taxi rank were closed, for the second time this week.

On Tuesday, shops were closed during the bail application of 14 Nigerian men accused of public violence. They were denied bail at the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court after they told the court they would not be safe if granted bail.

On February 9, Rustenburg was shut down as a angry crowd of about 5,000 people protested at the magistrate's court and threatened to torch the court building.  

African News Agency/ANA