Tuesday, September 21

Citizens arm themselves as looting, unrest roil South Africa

More than 70 people have been killed in the unrest

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday he might order more troops onto the streets as the army and police struggled to quell days of looting and violence, while some citizens armed themselves to protect their property and businesses from the rampage.

More than 70 people have been killed in the unrest, the worst in South Africa for years, and hundreds of businesses wrecked. Food and fuel supplies are running short.

Triggered by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma last week after he failed to appear at a corruption inquiry, its has widened into an orgy of looting and an outpouring of anger over the hardship and inequality that persist in South Africa 27 years after the end of apartheid.

Shopping malls and warehouses have been ransacked or set ablaze in several cities, mostly in Zuma’s home in KwaZulu-Natal province, especially the Indian Ocean port city of Durban, and the financial and economic centre Johannesburg and surrounding Gauteng province.

Soldiers have been deployed to help outnumbered police contain the unrest. Security forces say they have arrested more than 1,200 people, but the government has held back from imposing a state of emergency.

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