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Soweto looting: 68 arrested, cops attempt to secure area

Residents have been on the rampage since a teenager was gunned down earlier this week.

A foreign-owned shop in Soweto which was looted on 21 January 2015. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Soweto residents have been urged to give police officers the space they need to secure the area following days of xenophobic attacks.

Disgruntled residents have been on the rampage since a 14-year-old boy was killed on Monday, allegedly at the hands of a foreign businessman who claims his shop was robbed in Doornkop.

Angry community members also looted foreign-owned shops in Emdeni, Zola and Protea Glen and police have now arrested 68 people in various parts of the township.

Police are monitoring several hotspots this morning and the situation is calm as residents clean up debris from the violent clashes on Wednesday night.

Some residents, however, say this is not about xenophobia but is retaliation for the teenager's death.

One man says, "It's not xenophobia, it's just revenge."

Johannesburg Health and Social Development MMC Nonceba Molwele has urged residents to let the law take its course.

"The justice system of our country and our city is going to deal with this case accordingly."

Community leaders in Soweto have also been roped in to help quell tensions as foreign business owners fear for their lives.

'WE ARE NOT ANIMALS, WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS'

An Ethiopian shop owner in Zola told Eyewitness News about his devastation after residents vandalised his store and helped themselves to his goods.

He says no human being deserves to be treated in such a heartless manner.

"We're not animals. We are human beings who help each other. I don't know why they're doing this to us. They're robbing us, so I don't earn anything."

He told Eyewitness News he feared for his life as he listened to residents break down his wall.

Many shop owners in the area say although the businesses were their only source of income, they will not be returning to the township.