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South Africa scales up security presence

Associated Press South African Defense Force soldiers patrol Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg, on Thursday.

South Africa scales up security presence

Soldiers arrived by buses, trucks, and helicopters on Thursday into South Africa’s restive KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, including the capital city of Johannesburg. Some 10,000 soldiers were already on the streets by Thursday, while the South African National Defence Force called up its reserve of about 12,000 troops. The buildup marks one of the country’s largest deployments since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

What’s fueling the violence? Protests started last week after former president Jacob Zuma began serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court. The gatherings quickly turned violent. Authorities have detained more than 2,000 people for theft and vandalism since the protests began, while at least 117 others have died. Rioters targeted communication towers, water plants, and fuel supply routes. The country’s consumer goods regulatory body said people looted more than 800 retail shops.

Dig deeper: Read my World Tour report about Zuma’s sentencing.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.



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