South Africa's president cancelled a foreign trip yesterday to deal with a wave of attacks on immigrants that have killed at least six people. In the latest violence, mobs attacked shops owned by foreign nationals in a poor area of Johannesburg.
President Jacob Zuma had been scheduled to leave for Indonesia to attend a meeting of African and Asian leaders, but will instead stay to campaign for a peaceful resolution to the unrest that has swept several areas of South Africa in the past week, his office said.
Zuma planned to visit immigrants staying in a camp in the coastal city of Durban, where some of the worst violence has occurred.
"These attacks go against everything we believe in. The majority of South Africans love peace and good relations with their brothers and sisters in the continent," Mr Zuma said.
There was a heavy police presence in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg after rioters looted some shops, burned tires and built street barricades overnight. Police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to stop the unrest, the report said.
Several shops and cars owned by immigrants were torched in downtown Johannesburg in recent days.
Attacks on immigrants, many of them from other African countries, in and around Durban have subsided after the deaths of six people there, police said. Some 112 people were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal province, which includes Durban, during the riots, say authorities.