SA police confirm arrest of violent protesters

The police in South Africa has arrested more than 80 people and confirmed five deaths as attacks on Nigerians and other African migrants in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria intensified on Tuesday.

Major streets across both cities were littered with broken bricks and glass from buildings torched in overnight fires and debris from police battles with local groups, Reuters said in a report.

The latest wave of unrest in South Africa has raised fears of a recurrence of violence aimed at foreigners in 2015 in which at least seven people were killed.

Before that, some 60 people were killed in a wave of unrest around the country in 2008.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday he was urgently sending a special envoy to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa to secure the “safety of Nigerian citizens’ lives and property”.

Police have yet to pinpoint what triggered the violence, which began on Sunday when protesters armed with makeshift weapons roamed the streets of Pretoria’s business district pelting shops with rocks and petrol bombs and running off with goods.

High unemployment and widespread poverty have been cited as possible triggers for the recent disturbances and attacks on immigrants.