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Eighteen arrested in Relela protests

Sapa

Eighteen people have been arrested since the start of the protests in Relela on charges of public violence, arson and malicious damage to property.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega spoke to angry crowds in Relela. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Eighteen people have been arrested since the start of the protests in the Relela and Kubjana villages, near Tzaneen, Limpopo police said on Friday.

Nine were arrested in Relela and appeared in the Bolobedu Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of public violence, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

The case was postponed to February 11 and the accused would remain in custody.

Mulaudzi said 21 police officers were injured during the clashes.

The other nine were arrested in Kubjana on Thursday night on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and arson after they allegedly set fire to a local businessman's house, car and shop.

A child was found suffocated in the boot of the businessman's car. Two other children found locked in the car were unharmed. Locals had accused him of kidnapping the children.

The nine will appear in the Bolobedu Magistrate's Court on Monday.

In a separate incident in Kutama village near Makhado, 98 people were arrested after they alleged attacked a group of men who reportedly hanged a man from a tree in December. "Four houses and four vehicles, of which two were police vehicles, were set alight and destroyed in the violence."

Of the 98 a total of 32 people were charged with the violence and appeared in the Makhado Magistrate's Court on Friday.

The case was postponed to February 7 and they remained in custody. The remaining 66 people, mostly children, were released into their parents' custody. – Sapa

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