A disturbing incident happened on Saturday morning. Seven foreign nationals were brutally burned alive in the Diepsloot township outside Johannesburg. This horrific act followed a community-led manhunt on Friday night and Saturday morning, with residents wielding sjamboks and stones in a pursuit fueled by suspicion.

The victims, all men, were accused of committing various crimes in Diepsloot’s extension 12 and 13. Two of them were apprehended on Friday night, subjected to beatings with sticks and stones, and ultimately doused in petrol before being set on fire by enraged community members.

Councilor Abraham Mabhuke asserted that the men were suspected of involvement in violent crimes within the township and claimed they were all Zimbabwean nationals. According to Mabhuke, the community was incensed, leading to a relentless pursuit of those who had escaped on Friday night. Tragically, five more individuals, purportedly Zimbabweans, met a grisly end as they were stoned to death on Saturday morning.

The councilor revealed that on the preceding Friday, four people had been shot by the alleged criminals, resulting in one fatality and three individuals hospitalized with gunshot wounds. The violence on Saturday brought the total number of people burned alive to seven.

Residents of Diepsloot have been grappling with a surge in crime throughout the year. Gunshots punctuate the evenings in this densely populated Johannesburg township, prompting fear and forcing residents like Lizzy Maluleke to stay indoors as early as 7 pm.

The community’s response to the perceived threat highlights the deep-seated tensions and concerns about safety in Diepsloot. Efforts to address crime have manifested in marches by residents since the beginning of the year. However, the recent escalation to fatal vigilante justice underscores the urgency for comprehensive and effective solutions to address the root causes of crime and ensure the safety of all residents in the township.

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