Racial tensions on the rise in South Africa

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SHAFAQNA – Nine people have been arrested after a foreigner was set alight outside Johannesburg, the latest in a string of xenophobic attacks in the country, Police says.

A spokesperson for the South African Police Services in Gauteng Lieutenant Kay Makhubela told Al Jazeera on Friday that calm had since returned to Doornkop district inside Soweto, after a mob reportedly doused the foreigner’s store with petrol and set it alight the previous night.
Makhubela said, “Petrol was poured over the store that the victim was in, and he caught fire.”
The man, whose name and nationality is yet to be confirmed, survived in Thursday’s attack but suffered severe injuries and was admitted to a local hospital, Police informed.

The specific circumstances about the attack is unclear, though police said the attackers wanted the foreigner shut his store and leave.

In another incident in the same area on Thursday, police said they had arrested four foreigners after a confrontation with locals who tried to loot their store. Police said the foreign business owners had fired warning shots when they were reportedly approached by locals to close their stores. No locals were arrested.
A wave of violence has gripped the country since the first spark of violence hit Soweto when 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori was allegedly shot by a foreign shop owner in Doornkop, who’d accused the boy of robbery.

Foreign nationals, specifically African migrants, have endured a series of attacks across South Africa over the past decade.

Critics say that recent attacks continue to demonstrate the negative attitudes held by a number of South Africans toward foreign nationals. It is also alleged that the government’s refusal to treat the violence as ‘a hate crime’, has only perpetuated the problem.

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