S. Africa xenophobia: anti-immigrant riots turn deadly

Fears are mounting among immigrants that the attacks may spread to other cities.

S. Africa xenophobia: anti-immigrant riots turn deadly

World Bulletin / News Desk

 South African police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on Thursday to disperse a crowd of anti-immigrant protesters in an eastern suburb of Johannesburg, a Reuters witness said.

At least four people have been killed in a wave of anti-immigrant violence that started in the coastal city of Durban two weeks ago. 

South Africa is in the midst of the worst violence against immigrants since 2008, when about 60 people were killed and 50,000 forced from their homes. A wave of attacks in January against mainly Somali, Ethiopian and Pakistani shop-owners in townships around Johannesburg left at least six people dead.

 President Jacob Zuma has called for the killings to stop.

"I think this now must stop, because we cannot continue killing one another. What is happening in our country is not acceptable," Zuma told state broadcaster SABC in remarks broadcast on Wednesday night.

South Africa has erected safe camps in the coastal city of Durban for fleeing immigrants whose shops were looted and burnt.

South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants, and its high jobless rate, widespread poverty and glaring income disparities make it a ripe candidate for outbreaks of anti-immigrant violence.

Unemployment is officially around 25 percent but economists say in reality it is much higher.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Nisan 2015, 14:58