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Riot mayhem sees 45 killed & woman throw baby from burning mall in South Africa

Shopkeepers fired at looters and a woman had to throw her baby from the roof of a burning shopping mall as South Africa spiralled into anarchy following the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.

More than 45 people have now died in the country’s worst outbreak of widespread violence since the end of apartheid.

The death toll includes 10 people trampled in a stampede during looting on Monday night at a shopping centre in Soweto, the country’s biggest township.

Almost 800 people have been arrested in the unrest that began last Thursday after 79-year-old Zuma was jailed for failing to cooperate with a corruption probe.

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock
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Image:

REUTERS)




Protests turned violent over the weekend and the army has now been called in to help quell the unrest.

Scared South Africans have been forming “defence squads” to protect their homes and businesses amid warnings that food supplies could soon run short as supermarket owners shut up shop amid the widespread looting.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called it some of the worst violence witnessed in South Africa since the 1990s, before the end of apartheid, with fires set, highways blocked and businesses ransacked in major cities and small towns in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.



A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier detains suspected looters at the Jabulani mall in Soweto on the outskirts of Johannesburg
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)




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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said some 26 people had been killed in the province so far. In Gauteng the death toll is 19, including the 10 who died at the mall in Soweto.

In the township, once home to Nelson Mandela, ATMs have been cracked open,

and restaurants, bottle stores and clothing shops have been left in tatters.



Residents block a road following protests that have widened into looting, in Durban
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Image:

KIERRAN ALLEN via REUTERS)




In KwaZulu-Natal – where livestock has also been stolen – the unrest continues with ambulances even coming under attack by rioters in some areas.

Officials have accused some groups of taking advantage of the anger over Zuma’s imprisonment to commit crime.



A view shows damage inside a shopping mall following protests
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Image:

KIERRAN ALLEN via REUTERS)




President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “Together, we will defeat those who seek to destabilise our country.

‘We will stand as one people, united against violence, unanimous in our commitment to peace and to the rule of law.’











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