Xenophobia attacks spikes in South Africa, 41 arrested

Xenophobia attacks spikes in South Africa, 41 arrested

Africans living in South Africa are increasingly coming under xenophobic attacks, with their businesses, homes looted and in some cases destroyed in the attacks.

One man in recorded video circulating on social media narrated their ordeal in the hands of South Africans, whom he said hunt them down and kill them like animals, he lamented that their kids no longer go to school while as parents, they can’t go to their work places.

Police arrested more than 40 people following an overnight looting and burning spree in Jeppestown and surrounding areas of Johannesburg.

Police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said authorities had responded to a fire at a hijacked building in Jeppestown on Sunday morning.

He said three people died in the blaze while a fourth was treated for smoke inhalation.

“While we were still investigating with emergency services, people who were around started taking advantage of the situation and looted shops.”

Masondo said police regained control of the situation in Jules Street and initially arrested four people.

“We managed to control the situation, but criminals returned late on Sunday.”

The mob looted and set alight several shops in the area. Dozens of cars were torched at dealerships.

Many of the 41 people arrested by mid-morning on Monday were caught in the act – looting shops or carrying stolen goods. Eight suspects were arrested inside a shop at Vusimuzi informal settlement, where there was more looting in Tembisa.

Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela described the incidents as  lawless and inhumane.

“It is a sad day when people choose to capitalise on the misfortune of others to advance anarchy or criminality. Three people perishing in a burning, collapsing building can never justify what is now happening in Jeppestown, Malvern and surrounding areas. With such a tragedy, the community should be uniting to assist those affected instead of seeing an opportunity to commit crime,” he said.

Mawela warned people to refrain from inciting violence. Police noted threats of violence circulating on social media.

“Those who are hell-bent on turning Gauteng into a crime haven will be found and will face the full might of the law,” he said.

Law enforcement agencies, emergency and fire services were on the ground on Monday to ensure the situation was contained.

Police were also on high alert, monitoring Reiger Park and Oakmore in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, following sporadic attacks at shops on Monday.

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