SHOPS SET ABLAZE, LOOTED AS XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS SPREAD IN SOUTH AFRICA




South African police fired rubber bullets Friday to disperse crowds setting immigrant businesses ablaze as attacks against foreigners spread to Johannesburg.
Chanting and singing, machete-armed residents burned down shops owned by foreigners, including a Nigerian dealership in the nation’s largest city.
Immigrants carrying bricks accused police of not doing enough to protect them as businesses smoldered.
Six people killed
Violence targeting immigrant shops started recently in the port city of Durban, where two foreigners and three South Africans were killed. Residents have accused African immigrants of taking their jobs and committing crimes. The unemployment rate in South Africa is 25%, according to government figures.
A sixth death occurred Wednesday. The body of a 58-year-old foreign national was found in Verulam town, where a mob attacked the man at his home. He fled and died of his injuries near his home, South African police said.
At least 112 people have been arrested throughout KwaZulu-Natal Province for various offenses related to the violence, police said.
Social and economic issues
President Jacob Zuma said his government is addressing social and economic issues brought up by citizens. He said immigrants contribute to the nation’s economy while others bring scarce skills.
“While some foreign nationals have been arrested for various crimes, it is misleading and wrong to label or regard all foreign nationals as being involved in crime in the country,” Zuma said.
As the violence spread to other cities, terrified immigrants sought a resolution. Others fled, taking refuge at police stations in major cities.
“They are using this as scapegoats,” said Jean-Pierre Lukamba, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Every day, migrants are living in this fire. It’s not just attacks. It’s institutionalized xenophobia. The government must do something. Those people aren’t just mad for no reason. They want electricity, they want jobs, they want water.”


No comments:

Powered by Blogger.