According to South African police, five people died in and around Johannesburg after protesters burned cars and buildings and searched shops, the latest upsurge of violence against African immigrants in the country. big city of South Africa. At least 189 people were arrested.
Monday night’s violence appears to indicate foreign-owned shops, said Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, following a series of similar riots this year as part of a broader trend of hostility towards The foreigners.
Videos and still images of the riots showed streets covered with burnt debris and tires, with people carrying refrigerators and vending machines in shops. Law enforcement responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.
The deaths were confirmed by Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, police spokesman in Gauteng Province, which includes Johannesburg. It would not identify the victims or their nationalities.
Online, tens of thousands of people on the continent have spoken out against violence, using the hashtag #SayNoToXenophobia.
There are fewer than four million migrants in South Africa, a country of more than 50 million. But attacks on foreign-owned shops have become a common phenomenon that many have attributed to frustration over the country’s high unemployment rate, which is around 28%.
The most recent increase in violence, which began on Sunday, provoked a torrent of anger inside and outside South Africa, although some officials have attempted to portray violence as the product of violence. criminals rather than a deeper antipathy towards foreigners.
The country’s Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, said the violence resulted from “crime rather than xenophobia,” adding that criminals used intolerance as an “excuse” for looting.
The violence takes place before Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to South Africa in October, where he will meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss growing tensions, including violence against foreigners.
On Monday, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama wrote on Twitter that he had received “disgusting and depressing news of the ongoing fire and looting of Nigerian stores” in South Africa.
He accused “senseless criminals” of the violence and said the police in South Africa were not providing adequate protection.
Standing in front of burnt debris, a South African woman, Lerato Peete, told a local newspaper, The Times, that she was angry with her fellow citizens for attacking her African “brothers and sisters”.
“I am so ashamed to be South African that day,” he said. “How is it possible for a black person to be a foreigner in Africa? My mother was an activist, my father was an activist. I was born in South Africa because we did not have a place to call ours. ”
Abdallah Salajee, the owner of a car dealership, said he lost property worth at least two million rands, or about $ 130,000. Another Nigerian mechanic, Obinna Henry, told The Times of South Africa that he had lost “a guarantee of security in this country”.
A recent report by the African Center for Migration and Society, which has been monitoring attacks on foreigners in South Africa since 1994, based on press reports and information from victims and activists, described the violence xenophobic as “a long-standing feature in South Africa, apartheid”