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S. African police minister vows to ensure safety of tourists

CAPE TOWN, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula vowed Tuesday to ensure safety of visitors after a group of Dutch tourists were reportedly robbed at gun point.

Mbalula called the robbery, which occurred on Sunday night in Johannesburg, as "an attack on the tourism industry and the economy".

"Tourism is part of our economic drivers and provider of jobs for the youth. We must work hard in protecting this industry," the minister said.

The 36 tourists were traveling on a bus when it was allegedly stopped by a police-marked vehicle with one man dressed in police uniform and five others in civilian clothing.

The men allegedly demanded their possessions and one of the tourists was injured in the process and taken to hospital.

The tourists were traveling from OR Tambo International Airport, from where they were reportedly followed by the suspects.

There have been a series of "follow-home" robberies involving tourists who were attacked after departure from the airport.

"I condemn this robbery in the strongest terms and call for harsh punishment on those responsible," Mbalula said.

The robbery is being investigated by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in cooperation with the South African National Roads Agency and other departments that may assist the investigation to bring those responsible to book, according to the minister.

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