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JOHANNESBURG – Mobs in South Africa attacked shops owned by immigrants in a poor area of Johannesburg early Saturday following similar violence in another part of the country that killed six people, according to media reports.
There was a heavy police presence in Alexandra township after rioters looted some shops, burned tires and built street barricades overnight. The report says police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to stop the unrest, news outlet eNCA reported.
Several shops and cars owned by immigrants were torched in downtown Johannesburg in recent days.
Attacks on immigrants, many of them from other African countries, in and around the coastal city of Durban have subsided after the deaths of six people there, police said. Some 112 people were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal province, which includes Durban, during the riots there, according to authorities.
Some South Africans have accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them in a country with high unemployment. The government has said it is addressing complaints about undocumented migrants, while noting that many foreign nationals are living legally in South Africa and contributing to economic development.
About 60 people died in similar unrest in South Africa in 2008. In January this year, four people died during a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and other violence in Soweto and other areas of Johannesburg.