KRUGERSDORP ( HRNW) — Community members in the South African city of Krugersdorp beat suspected illegal miners with sticks and set fire to their camps Thursday following the alleged gang rapes of eight women last week by more than 80 men, some of whom are suspected of being miners.
Residents of Krugersdorp’s Kagiso township also barricaded roads with rocks and burning tires during a protest against the presence of the miners. They say they are frustrated with high levels of crime in the area that they blame on the illegal miners and the failure of the police to deal with them.
Some suspected illegal miners were stripped of their clothes and whipped by residents. Residents chased others out of their camps and beat and kicked them before handing them over to police. In some cases, the miners were rescued from the protesters by police.
Police responded by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters, who also clashed with police officers.
“We want support from the police because the illegal miners are terrorizing us. We cannot simply walk around the neighborhood at night because they rape us,” said Nhlanhla Felatsi, who was part of the protest. “We recently had an incident where two female security officers were raped by the same people. The police are not protecting us.”