South African police have arrested at least 100 people and confirmed five deaths as riots in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria intensify.
The African Union has come out strongly to condemn the attacks. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said it is disheartening for the South Africans to attack their fellow Africans including the looting and destruction of their property.
He was however encouraged by arrests already made by the South African authorities.
Mahamat further called for immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts, and that justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses.
He reiterated the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to helping South Africa address the root causes that led to the violence.
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, but some officials say the riots may be the work of criminal syndicates.
(Additional reporting by BBC)