Zulu king denies triggering S.Africa attacks

20th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini on Monday denied whipping up xenophobic hatred in South Africa after he was accused of triggering violence that has left at least seven people dead and forced thousands from their homes.

Zwelithini last month made an angry speech blaming immigrants for rising crime and saying they must leave the country, in an outburst seen as encouraging the spate of attacks on Zimbabweans, Somalians, Malawians and other foreigners.

But he told a tribal gathering of several thousand Zulus in the port city of Durban that he had been misrepresented.

"This violence directed at our brothers and sister is shameful," he said.

"My speech... was directed at the police, calling for stricter law enforcement, but that was never reported.

"The public was instead given another side of my speech, which had been twisted and misrepresented."

South African authorities have struggled to contain mobs in the economic capital Johannesburg and Durban hunting down foreigners.

At least seven people were killed last week and 307 suspects arrested in the worst ethnic violence since 2008, when 62 people were killed mainly in Johannesburg's townships.

© 2015 AFP

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