Deadly mob attacks spread to second South African township

May 15th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by admin  

Johannesburg, May 15 (DPA) The violent attacks by rampaging mobs on mostly foreigners in a township north of Johannesburg looked to have spread to another poor community on the outskirts of the city Thursday, claiming two more lives, according to South African radio. Two people were killed in Diepsloot township, also north of Johannesburg, Wednesday night, a police spokesman told the radio station.

While the identity of the victims was yet to be revealed, the attacks were believed to be motivated by the xenophobic tide that has turned another township - Alexandra - into a battlefield in recent days.

At least two people have been killed and 60 injured in Alexandra since residents went on the rampage Sunday, accusing foreigners of taking jobs and public housing and of being responsible for high crime levels.

Night after night since Sunday police have opened fire with rubber bullets to subdue angry crowds, who torched and looted the homes of mainly illegal migrants from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique but also some South Africans.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, which have forced 1,000 people to take up residence at Alexandra police station, where they are being fed by the Red Cross.

A delegation of government ministers led by Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was scheduled to tour the area later Thursday.

The ruling African National Congress, opposition parties and the main trade union federation have all condemned the rising xenophobia, which has sparked several deadly attacks on foreigners in townships in recent years.

South Africa’s townships are bursting at the seams with migrants from rural areas and illegal migrants from poorer, neighbouring countries, who flock to the continent’s powerhouse in search of work.

According to some estimates up to three million Zimbabweans have fled the economic chaos in their home country to South Africa.

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