A man runs away from teargas after making off with goods from a store in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Police had earlier fired rubber bullets as they struggled to stop looters who targeted businesses as unrest broke out in several spots in and around the city. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

South African police arrest 90 as unrest in cities continues

September 03, 2019 - 9:41 am

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's president condemned days of widespread looting and arson attacks on foreign-owned businesses across Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria, calling the violence "totally unacceptable."

"We are a country that is completely committed against xenophobia," President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a video statement published on Twitter Tuesday. "We do not allow and cannot tolerate attacks on people from other African countries."

Police fanned out across neighborhoods in Johannesburg and Pretoria as the violence extended into a third day in South Africa.

Police have arrested more than 90 people in five areas impacted by the violence. Many gutted, emptied shops remained closed as shop owners, many of them foreign, feared to return to their property.

"There is no justification whatsoever for people who have a sense that their jobs are being taken by people from foreign lands to attack them, to destroy properties, and actually to kill them," said Ramaphosa. "This must be stopped."

On Monday, African governments warned citizens living in South Africa to take safety precautions and expressed frustration with latest wave of attacks targeting foreign-owned businesses in South Africa.

The Ethiopian Embassy in South Africa advised citizens to close their shops "until peace is restored", according to Ethiopian media, and Zambia's Ministry of Transport and Communications warned Zambian truck drivers not to travel in to the country.

The Nigerian government also lashed out at South African police for their "ineffective" response to attacks on its citizens.

Nigeria's foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama called the violence "sickening" on Twitter on Monday, and said the Nigerian government would "take definitive measures," without elaborating.

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