Night of looting targeting foreign nationals breaks out in Soweto

Night of looting targeting foreign nationals breaks out in Soweto

- Numerous Soweto residents went on a looting spree on Wednesay night

- They damaged and ransacked several foreign-owned shops and businesses

- Police say they are not yet certain what set off the spree

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A wave of xenophobic attacks broke out in Soweto on Wednesday.

Residents looted numerous foreign-owned shops and businesses.

Reportedly, the attacks were focused in Zola, Emdeni, Moletsane, White City, Zondi and Rockville.

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Stores were ransacked and trashed, has gathered, with many buildings sustaining considerable damage. It is not yet known what sparked off the looting spree but police say they are investigating the matter.

According to Times Live, a spokesperson for the police said they were not yet sure if anyone had been injured in the looting or if any suspects had been arrested.

The incident echoes previous xenophobic attacks, particularly the looting of foreign-owned shops which also occurred in Soweto a year ago. This comes as the issues of undocumented immigrants and tensions with foreign nationals in Johannesburg have once again been in the spotlight.

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Police clashed with foreign nationals in the city centre earlier this month when they conducted raids on stores that they suspected of selling fake goods.

However, officers responded with another series of operations last week in which they confiscated numerous firearms and a number of counterfeit goods.

The operation, under the name Okae Molao, is credited with bringing the CBD back under the control of law enforcement, but was met with mixed responses from the public. Some have suggested that Wednesday night's looting my have been motivated in part by residents who are still angry over the treatment of police by these foreign nationals.

Additionally, some of the animosity toward foreign-owned stores has been attributed to economic strain. For example, some Soweto residents are said to view foreign-owned businesses as competition in areas where work is already hard to find.

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