Soweto calm after week of looting

24th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Calm returned to Soweto streets on Saturday after a week on looting and violence against foreign shopkeepers in South Africa's iconic township, police said.

Residents of the populous township southwest of Johannesburg had gone on a rampage after a foreign businessman shot dead a local teenager who had allegedly tried to rob him on Monday.

The killing saw mobs of teenagers storming foreign-owned shops forcing owners to vacate the area, in violence described as xenophobic.

Nearly 200 people have been arrested on charges of public violence and theft.

"The situation in Soweto and other affected areas is fairly quiet," said police spokesman Solomon Makgale on Saturday.

Makgale said police conducted raids overnight and arrested 15 people in Soweto and a further 24 in Kagiso, another township where the looting had spread.

He said police had acted on videos currently circulating in public that show people looting shops.

Most of the affected business owners were Bangladeshi, Somali, Indian and Pakistani nationals.

Three people had been killed in the week-long rampage.

The violence has been condemned by right groups and politicians, with President Jacob Zuma urging the police to restore order.

Foreign-owned businesses have cropped up in most South African townships, and locals often accuse the foreigners of putting them out of business with their low prices.

With poverty and unemployment widespread, frustration in Johannesburg's run-down neighbourhoods often boils over into anti-immigrant violence.

© 2015 AFP

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