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Police remain on high alert in White City following violent clashes

Police have confirmed that two foreign nationals allegedly involved in the shootings were arrested they were also found in possession of unlicensed firearms.

A group of White City residents gathers near a news crew after some of the stores have been looted and two people killed. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Police remain on high alert on Thursday morning after violent clashes in White City, Soweto and surrounding areas.

Tensions escalated on Wednesday when several stores run by foreign nationals were looted by residents in the area.

Two people were killed during Thursday’s chaotic scenes.

Police have confirmed that two foreign nationals allegedly involved in the shootings were arrested. They were also found in possession of unlicensed firearms.

Police remained on duty well into the night as tensions between residents and foreign nationals continued after many stores were robbed of their goods.

While some residents have accused store owners of selling expired goods, others say this is just an excuse for criminal activity.

The police's Captain Mphande Khoza says: “The situation got tense when one of the foreigners shot one of the locals person, a 23-year-old man. That’s when the community started burning tyres and looting most of the shops.”

Many others were also arrested during the chaos for public violence.

SITUATION REMAINS TENSE

Speaking to Eyewitness News, one of the store owners, who is South African, said that he didn't understand the motive to loot because many of the looters seem to be unaware that he's a South African employed by Somali citizens.

The store was cleaned out by residents.

But police managed to make an arrest soon after.

At the same time, police called for calm in the area after the deadly violence.

Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said: “There have been rumours about foreign-owned shops selling expired goods, something that’s been going on in the media. We still don’t know what sparked the violence on Wednesday morning.

"We understand that there are groups going around the area attacking foreign nationals’ shops. Some of the shop owners have sought safety at a police station.”

ANC REACTS

The African National Congress (ANC) has condemned lawlessness by citizens acting against the sale of illicit food products in stores across the country.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said while the health and wellbeing of citizens remain their primary concern, people must not take the law into their own hands.

“The video material that has been making rounds on social media has understandably angered communities and some are beginning to take the law into their own hands and are conducting their own inspection, manhandling suspects and destroying what they find to have expired. We call on people not to take the law into their own hands.”

The party has called for the intervention of the Bureau of Standards and the business community to assist aggrieved communities.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)