South Africa: Army deployed in some provinces after mystery truck attacks

South Africa deployed the army in four of its provinces after at least 21 trucks carrying goods were set on fire in various parts of the country in the span of five days.

In numerous instances, armed men forced drivers out of their vehicles before setting the trucks alight in the middle of major roads.

Truck driver Nkoskhona, from KwaZulu, Natal, who transports fuel to various filling stations in the country said he felt relieved.

“We’ll feel safe and our families will be at ease as we were not safe on the roads,” he said.

The Police Minister said last week there is a possibility that the truck burnings are economic sabotage against South Africa. The police were hunting for at least 12 people.

The truck burnings appear to have started on Sunday (Jul. 9?), the second anniversary of the start of the 2021 protests.

Police said they had no evidence that this week’s torching of trucks was connected to the 2021 unrest or to Zuma, but the decision in Zuma’s court case clearly has put the country on edge.

Zuma, 81, was not in South Africa and had traveled to Russia for medical treatment for an undisclosed illness, said Mzwanele Manyi, a spokesperson for the former president. Manyi gave no date for Zuma’s return.

Authorities haven’t established the motive for the truck attacks, nor if they are connected to each other as they took place in various parts of the country.

“These are organized and sophisticated operations,” minister Cele said in a statement released by the South African government’s official news agency.

Authorities haven’t reported any deaths or serious injuries related to the torching of trucks.

Trucks have previously been burned in South Africa as a form of protest against the government for failing to provide basic services, but the number torched this week was unusually high.

The move came amid concerns of more violent unrest over a court decision that could send former president Jacob Zuma back to jail, although authorities denied the two issues are connected.

The Department of Corrections has not said if it will order Zuma back to jail to serve the remainder of a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court, but his initial jailing two years ago sparked a week of violent protests that left more than 350 people dead in some of the worst violence South Africa had experienced in 30 years.

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