Xenophobic violence targeting immigrant-owned shops has flared in Soweto (Gauteng province), near Johannesburg, on Wednesday, August 29, resulting in the death of at least one person. Police have reportedly been deployed to halt the looting of the stores and to quell the violence. Despite the heightened security presence, additional incidents of looting of immigrant-owned stores and associated acts of violence are possible in Soweto and surrounding areas in the coming days.
High unemployment in South Africa has stoked local anti-immigrant resentment, as immigrants are blamed for taking jobs that could employ native South Africans and for participating in criminal activity. Immigrant-owned shops in Soweto have been periodically subjected to similar attacks in recent years.
Individuals in the Soweto area are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations and sites of civil unrest as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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