South Africa army to tackle migrant attacks

A South African National Defence Force armoured vehicle enters a section of the restive Bekkersdal township on 6 May 2014
The army will help restore calm, the government says

The South African army will be deployed to end a wave of attacks on foreigners, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has said.

Soldiers would be deployed to a township in the main city, Johannesburg, and to flashpoints in KwaZulu-Natal province, she added.

This will be the first troop deployment since the violence broke out early this month, killing at least seven people.

South Africa has faced a backlash from other African states over the attacks.


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Many people would “appreciate the decision to bring in the defence force”, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula told journalists.

Troops would not take over the responsibilities of the police but would assist in maintaining order, the defence minister added.

The Ministry of Defence said they would be deployed from 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) in Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg.

Mozambican Emmanuel Sithole was killed in the township at the weekend.

A local man gestures with a stick outside a hostel during the anti-immigrant violence in Johannesburg, April 17, 2015
Some South Africans accuse foreigners of taking their jobs

Four suspects appeared in court on Tuesday over Mr Sithole’s killing, which was caught on camera by a local journalist.

The men were remanded in custody, without being asked to plead.

A crowd protested outside court, demanding justice for Mr Sithole.

The army was also deployed during the xenophobic violence in 2008, when at least 63 people were killed, says the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko in Johannesburg.

Anti-king protests

Police say the situation is calm now with no new violent attacks reported anywhere in South Africa, she reports.

More than 900 people have been voluntarily repatriated back to their home countries since the violence broke out, officials say.

The violence has targeted other Africans and Asians who came to South Africa after white-minority rule ended in 1994.

Protesters in Lilongwe, Malawi on 21 April 2015
Malawians showed their anger at a demonstration in Lilongwe
South Africa's Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, pictured at a ceremony in 2008
The Zulu king has been accused of making anti-foreigners remarks
A woman and man washes outside a shelter for displaced foreigners in east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, 21 April 2015
The violence forced some 5,000 people into camps

In Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Tuesday, at least 2,0000 people protested against the violence.

“South Africa, why kill your fellow blacks?” read one poster.

The protesters chanted slogans against South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, reports the BBC’s Raphael Tenthani from the scene.

They gave Mr Zuma a 48-hour ultimatum to get the monarch to apologise for alleged xenophobic remarks he made last month, or else they would boycott South African goods, he says.

The powerful monarch has denied fuelling xenophobia, saying at a rally on Monday: “If it were true that I said foreigners must go, this country would be up in flames.”

With the unemployment rate at around 25%, many South Africans accuse foreign nationals of taking jobs from locals.

Official data suggests there are about two million foreign nationals in South Africa, but some estimates put the number much higher.