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Anti-foreigner violence in South Africa kills 50

Sunday, May 25, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa —  The death toll in two weeks of anti-foreigner violence in South Africa has reached 50, police said Sunday, as thousands displaced by the violence coped with rain and cool temperatures.

The revised death toll was eight more than the previous figure. A police spokesman also said Sunday that the army will continue supporting police trying to quell the violence.

On Saturday, the army said one of its soldier shot and killed a man who was attacking a woman in a slum that has seen attacks on foreigners.

"There's no change at this stage until such time as we are satisfied peace is being restored," said Gauteng provincial police spokesman Govindsamy Mariemuthoo. He said few incidents and no deaths or injuries were reported overnight.

Thousands of foreigners remain in makeshift camps after being chased from their homes by stick- and knife-wielding mobs of South Africans who accuse immigrants of taking jobs and blame them for crime. A church service was held Sunday at one of the camps.

The violence has centered on squatter camps and notoriously bleak dormitories built during the apartheid era for single men who were allowed to work in the cities, but not to bring their families.

President Thabo Mbeki, who on Wednesday called in the army for the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994 to aid police, was to address the nation on the violence later Sunday, according to the state broadcaster.

Mbeki condemned the violence Saturday, saying during an appearance in Cape Town that "there can never, ever be justification for criminal, violent activity against anyone."

Other leaders of his African National Congress Party, including its president, Jacob Zuma, were visiting hot spots Sunday, hoping their presence and words could help restore calm.

Protesters marched for peace Saturday in Johannesburg, the commercial capital where the violence began and where it has been most intense.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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