JOHANNESBURG — The South African army has been deployed to areas that remain volatile after a spate of attacks targeting immigrants, the defense minister announced on Tuesday.
Soldiers have already been sent to support police in troubled areas, Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said in a live broadcast.
The minister made the announcement in Alexandra, a Johannesburg township where a Zimbabwean couple survived a shooting overnight. The man and woman were both shot in their necks and the woman suffered an additional shot in her leg, the minister said. Both Zimbabweans were treated and discharged from hospital.
In the same Alexandra area, a Mozambican man was stabbed to death by four South African men over the weekend. Photographs of the stabbing were published in a local newspaper on Sunday. The four South African men appeared in court on Tuesday and remain in police custody, said Velekhaya Mgobhozi, the National Prosecuting Authority spokesman.
Troops were also sent to Durban, the coastal city where the attacks on foreigners began, Mapisa-Nqakula said. The violence has been concentrated in areas of Johannesburg and Durban where poor immigrants and South Africans live.
The recent spate of attacks has mainly affected immigrants from African states like Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, according to a statement from the aid group, Doctors Without Borders.
The South African attacks on foreigners have angered many in other African countries.
In Malawi, nearly 2,000 protesters marched to the South African High Commission, demonstrating against the wave of violence, said Billy Mayaya, a human rights activist. A diplomat at the South African mission said earlier that there were several hundred marchers.
"South Africa, why kill your fellow blacks?" read one poster carried by the singing demonstrators in the capital Lilongwe.
The march organizers called on the South African government to do more to protect immigrants and handed a petition to South African High Commissioner Cassandra Mbuyane-Mokone.
Nearly 400 Malawians returned home on Monday, traveling overnight by bus from South Africa, Malawi's Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said.
Associated Press writer Raphael Tenthani contributed to this report from Lilongwe, Malawi.