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Deaths in South Africa: “Afrophobia” or Xenophobia?

Sibusiso Tshabalala | Quartz   in 
April 16, 2015

Violence against immigrants in South Africa has killed at least five people since last week in one of the worst outbreak of violence in years against foreigners in years. Hundreds of migrants mostly from other African countries had been forced out of their homes, authorities told the Associated Press news agency on Tuesday. Most of the recent unrest occurred in and around the coastal city of Durban, where police said two foreigners and three South Africans were killed.

The dead included a 14-year-old boy who was allegedly shot during looting on Monday night and died at a hospital, police official, Jay Naicker said.

Some 34 people have been arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms and other crimes in the last two days, he said.

“Police are deployed and in high alert in most of the areas where there are foreign nationals,” Naicker said in a statement.

Despite the increased police presence, authorities are hard-pressed to stop unrest that recalls similar violence in South Africa in 2008 in which about 60 people died. In January this year, four people died during a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and other violence in Soweto and other areas of Johannesburg. Some South Africans have accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them.

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