S. African Violence Worst since Apartheid

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The president of South Africa says his country is experiencing some of the worst violence since the end of apartheid.

During the past two weeks, attacks against immigrants have killed 56 people. More than 650 have been injured, and 30,000 have been forced out of their homes.

And despite reports of looting and homes being set on fire, South Africa's Safety and Security Minister Charles Ngakula insists "the situation is under control."

The cause for all the unrest? Some South Africans believe immigrants are responsible for taking scarce jobs and houses.

But officials say much of the violence and looting is the work of common criminals.

In the meantime, some foreigners - including 20,000 Mozambicans - are fleeing back to their homelands.

"Sadly here in South Africa we mark Africa Day with our head bowed," President Thabo Mbeki told the BBC.

"The shameful actions of a few have blemished the name of South Africa through criminal acts against our African brothers and sisters from other parts of the continent as well as other foreign residents especially from Asia," he said.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC

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