Two mosques attacked during xenophobic riots in South Africa

Published 10.09.2019 00:17

In the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence, two mosques located in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, were attacked by rioters in one week. On Sunday, the Himayatul Islam mosque was damaged during Molotov cocktail attacks, becoming the second mosque in the city targeted in a week. Last Wednesday, Katlehong mosque was also severely damaged by rioters, according to local media.

As part of the recent outbreak of violence, at least one person was killed and five others injured in Johannesburg over the weekend after security forces clashed with looters. A group of stick and machete-wielding men marched through the streets of South Africa's largest city, calling on African migrants to leave the city or face the consequences. Police were forced to fire rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the rowdy rioters, who were mostly residents of the Jeppestown men's hostel. Police spokesman Kay Makhubele said police had deployed more personnel to beef up security in all volatile areas in Johannesburg. Most businesses remained closed on Sunday, with shopkeepers fearing being looted by rioters. The country has been rocked by a surge of attacks against businesses owned by migrants in the last week, leaving at least 10 dead and prompting protests from several African countries. South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from neighboring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. However, others come from South Asia and Nigeria looking for work in the continent's second-largest economy. The recent violence has soured ties between South Africa and Nigeria, which summoned Pretoria's envoy and boycotted an economic summit in Cape Town in protest. Officials said several Nigerian businesses were attacked and burned down, although they said no Nigerians were killed.

Foreign workers often face anti-immigrant violence in South Africa, where they compete with locals for jobs, particularly in low-skilled industries. In 2008, a series of xenophobic attacks left 62 people dead, while in 2015, seven were killed in attacks in Johannesburg and Durban.

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