Attacks spread beyond Gauteng

Alfred Moselakgomo and Mckeed Kotlolo

Alfred Moselakgomo and Mckeed Kotlolo

The attacks on foreigners in the country continue unabated - this time with Mpumalanga joining the fray.

After a week marred by sporadic incidents of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng, about 200 foreigners had their shops vandalised and their shacks set alight in two townships in Secunda yesterday.

Police said hundreds of foreigners were housed at the local police stations after the attacks.

The local municipality has provided tents for them as a short-term solution.

But the police said they did not want to attribute the Secunda incidents to xenophobic attacks that have been reported in other areas in the country, particularly Gauteng.

Police spokesman Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi said 20 people were arrested for public violence, while 27 were arrested for being in possession of stolen items in Embalenhle and Lesley townships.

"Property including fridges, stoves and other electrical appliances were found in possession of some community members who were arrested for theft," she said.

Nkosi said the attacks, mainly on Somali-owned shops, started on Tuesday night but the group dispersed after police shot rubber bullets at them.

"But yesterday they regrouped and attacked foreign businessmen," Nkosi said. "As they fled they took property from the shops," said Nkosi.

She said the police would monitor the situation to ensure that peace and stability prevailed.

No injuries or deaths were reported during the incidents.