Xenophobia: South Africa arrest arsonists as killing, burning of Nigerians’ shops continue

Image result for south africa killingsThe government of South African has arrested dozens of people in Johannesburg after rioters looted shops and torched buildings and vehicles. BBC reports that the police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to quell the unrest on Monday, September 2.

News gathered that many of the targeted shops were reported to be owned by foreign nationals. According to the report, the country’s police minister, Bheki Cele, said that the criminality rather than xenophobia was to blame for the “senseless violence.

“Xenophobia is used as an excuse. Nothing… has sparked any form of conflict between the South Africans and foreign nationals,” he told reporters after visiting the city’s Central Business District (CBD), where much of the unrest has been taking place.

The Nigerian foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, however, said that Nigerian shops had been targeted by “mindless criminals” and promised to take “definitive measures.” South Africa has seen a spate of xenophobic attacks in recent months. In March, three people died during protests that targeted foreign-owned shops in Durban. The latest unrest reportedly began on Sunday, September 1, when a building in Johannesburg’s central business district caught fire and collapsed, killing at least three people. It was gathered that on Monday, September 2, the violence spread to the nearby area of Jeppestown before reaching other areas of the city such as Denver, Malvern and Tembisa. Hundreds of people marched through the CBD, where video shared on social media showed shops being looted and rows of burnt-out cars. At least 41 people were arrested after the march, police said.

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