Eastern Cape cops hunt suspects after 9 injured, homes and vehicles set alight in protests

Eastern Cape police are hoping to arrest more people in connection with violent protests in Bathurst, near Port Alfred, in which five homes and four vehicles were set alight.

The violent protests on Sunday left nine people hospitalised, Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said.

So far, five people, aged 20 to 55, have been arrested.

"It is alleged that the incidents started at approximately 17:00 on Sunday night, when local political party agents took part in a motorcade. During the motorcade, groups of community members started stoning vehicles and attacking members of the community," said Kinana.

"At the same time, reports were received of a house that was set alight. A short while later, three more reports were received of homes being burnt. Reports of four vehicles that were also apparently burnt were received."

Police are investigating cases of arson, malicious damage to property and assault.

Kinana said Eastern Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga strongly condemned the coward acts of arson.

"We cannot allow people to burn or torch other peoples' houses or property despite any disagreements or reasons. The 72-hour activation plan has been implemented to investigate, track, arrest and bring to justice those  suspected and responsible for such violent acts within this community," said Ntshinga.