Three dead as foreigners flee deadly xenophobia attacks in Soweto
Looters take items from a foreign-owned shop (AFP)
London, August 30, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Foreigners have fled South Africa’s main township, Soweto, following xenophobic attacks which killed three people on Wednesday
The Police on Thursday confirmed the development including the three death
Violence broke out after locals accused a Somali shop owner of shooting a teenager and his friend who allegedly tried to break into his store.
Police believe this triggered the chaotic scenes of looting and violence, which spread to other areas of Soweto, our correspondent says.
Residents also accused shop owners of selling expired foods.
A total of 27 people have been arrested, a police statement said.
The police also confirmed that 27 people have so far been arrested in the violence, which had a xenophobic component.
“I can confirm that two were shot and one was stabbed,” police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said on local television channel eNCA.
“The number of arrests has risen up to 27,” he added – two for murder and most of the others for the public violence that broke out on Wednesday
The statement said some foreign nationals living in Soweto had taken refuge in a police station for fear of being targeted.
“It is believed that the violence was sparked by accusations that shop owners within the community had allegedly been selling counterfeit and expired goods,” Johannesburg’s mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement.
Many of the small shops selling basic goods in South Africa’s townships are owned by nationals from other African countries, including Somalis, Ethiopians, Mozambicans and Zimbabweans.
The South African government has condemned the violence.
South Africa has recurrent spates of xenophobic attacks – with particularly bad examples in 2008 and 2015 – and more than 60 people have been killed in the past decade.
Mayor Mashaba has himself come under fire in the past from political opponents and rights groups for statements considered to be stoking xenophobic sentiment.