Seven killed in anti-immigrant clashes this month
* Zulu king’s March 20 speech blamed for sparking violence
* King says comments taken “out of context”, attacks “vile” (Adds link to graphic)
By Peroshni Govender
DURBAN, South Africa, – South Africa’s influential Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini described recent anti-immigrant attacks as “vile” on Monday, defending himself against claims previous comments he made about foreigners sparked the unrest.
At least seven people have been killed in the latest wave of anti-immigrant violence to hit South Africa, which began almost three weeks ago in Durban, a coastal city in the Zulu heartland.
TV stations across the country have broadcast scenes of angry mobs armed with machetes looting immigrant-owned shops, in the worst xenophobic violence since at least 67 people were killed in 2008.
Police said on Monday its officers had arrested three people linked to the killing on Saturday of Mozambican man Emmanuel Sithole. Disturbing pictures of men beating and stabbing Sithole in broad daylight were published in the Sunday Times, fuelling calls for the police to do more to protect immigrants.
“We need to make sure no more foreigners are attacked. We must stop these vile acts,” Zwelithini told thousands of supporters at a stadium in Durban, during a speech the popular leader hoped would restore calm among his followers.