S Africa army sent to halt violence

Some 16,000 people displaced and 42 killed as mob attacks spread east to Durban.

    Attacks have mostly targeted impoverished migrants from neighbouring African countries [AFP]
    Violence against foreigners, which began in Johannesburg, the South African capital, has reportedly spread to the east coast city of Durban.
     
    Phindile Radebe, provincial police spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that a crowd of almost 200 people carrying bottles and wooden clubs had gathered on a street in Durban's impoverished suburb of Umbilo and began carrying out attacks.
     
    "A mob of plus/minus 200 were gathering on the streets carrying bottles and knobkerries [wooden clubs] busy attacking people on the streets," he said.

    "They attacked one of the taverns there believed to be owned by Nigerians."
     
    Radebe also said that the situation was being monitored by police, who were still investigating the motive behind the attack.

    The Mercury newspaper quoted John Lazarus, a Durban police spokesperson, as saying that anti-immigrants groups had ordered the foreigners to "leave KwaZulu Natal", the country's most populous province.

    'Quiet night'

    Locals accuse foreigners, millions of whom migrate to South Africa in search of jobs and a better life, of committing crime and depriving them of employment opportunities.


    Mariemuthoo said earlier on Wednesday that police in Johannesburg had to react quickly to bring an end to a few violent incidents to the east of the city.

     

    "It has been quiet in the area overnight but there were a few incidents," he said.

     

    "For example, in the East Rand in Gugulethu and Ramaphosa informal settlements, one shack each was set alight there."

     

    "In Tembisa seven people were arrested for public violence and in Rabie Ridge three people were shot and taken to hospital. In Kya Sands police dispersed a crowd of about 100 people."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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