Two people have been killed as several foreign-owned shops were looted by an angry mob in Mamelodi, east of South African capital Pretoria, local authorities said.
Police said the violence was triggered after a foreign shopkeeper allegedly shot and wounded a South African national on Saturday after an argument over change.
“A Pakistani businessman allegedly shot and wounded a local community member after an argument over change,” Mamelodi police spokesperson Col. Noxolo Kweza told Anadolu Agency late Sunday.
She said when the community in Mamelodi heard of the incident, they mobilized and started looting shops owned by foreign nationals.
“Police were called and the situation was only normalized in the early hours of this morning (Sunday),’’ she said, adding that there were two murders reported during the violence.
“One body of a foreigner and one of a local were found by the police,” the spokesperson confirmed to AA.
She said a case of public violence was opened, and two suspects were arrested.
“The situation is calm but still tense. We are monitoring the situation. All cases were registered in Mamelodi east,” she confirmed.
However, another source at the scene told AA that a Somali national, in his 50s, was reportedly stoned to death and two others were seriously injured when the angry mob of locals attacked their shop in extension 6 late on Saturday.
“One Somali shopkeeper, identified as Sharif Shukri, was stoned to death. Three more Somalis are gun-wounded. Shops are looted and tension is soaring in Mamelodi east,” Huud Badru-Diin, a Somali community activist, told AA from the scene of the violence.
Badru-Diin said Shukri a father of four, was attacked as he walked with three other Somalis in the area.
“Over 15 shops have been looted and a car set ablaze by the mob outside one of the shops,” he confirmed.
Somali nationals, who number in their thousands and run businesses in most impoverished townships of South Africa, have long complained that they are being targeted.
Last year, 25-year-old Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good, another Somali, was stoned to death by a mob in the Eastern Cape. The violence was captured on a mobile phone and widely shared on the internet.
“What is happening in Mamelodi is a reminder of the 2008 xenophobic attacks,” Congolese national Jamari Mike told AA.
In May 2008, more than 50 African migrants lost their lives when mobs of angry South Africans attacked them across the country. Experts say the attacks were motivated by xenophobia.