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Mom Throws Child From Burning Building During South Africa Riot

Death toll hits 72 in some of the worst violence since the end of apartheid
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2021 6:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Days after Jacob Zuma turned himself in to start serving a 15-year-sentence, South Africa is being shaken by some of the worst violence since the end of apartheid. At least 72 people have been killed in rioting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, many of them trampled in stampedes during looting, the AP reports. Others have died in shootings and explosions. More than 200 malls have been ransacked. Security forces, who have fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at rioters, say more than 1,200 people have been arrested. In Durban, a woman was seen throwing a baby from an apartment building that was set on fire after ground-floor shops were looted, the BBC reports.

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The child was caught by members of a crowd that had rushed to help residents. They fetched ladders to help other people escape and the mother was reunited with her baby. The arrest of the former president, whose supporters have blockaded roads, was the catalyst for the riots, but low income levels and a youth unemployment rate of nearly 50% "are seen as the ticking bombs that have exploded," says Farouk Chothia at the BBC. Premier David Makhura of Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, said Monday that the "criminal element has hijacked this situation" and called on community leaders to help stop the looting. President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed 2,500 troops to support police. (Read more South Africa stories.)

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