Murders of little girls spark township riots

The murder of two children whose bodies were found in a toilet in a township north of Johannesburg has sparked riots with people accusing police of failing to protect them.

The discovery prompted angry protests from residents who looted shops and burned tyres in the street.

Police were holding several people for questioning about the deaths of the girls, who were aged two and three, and were discovered on Tuesday in the Diepsloot area north of Johannesburg after being reported missing at the weekend.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Police are investigating whether they are linked to the death of a five-year-old girl in the same area in September. She had been sexually violated and strangled.

In a separate incident two other children were found dead in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg. Police suspect they were poisoned.

The killings in Diepsloot fuelled angry accusations from residents that police were failing to provide security. Some immigrant-owned shops were attacked, exposing tensions between community members and residents from other African countries.

Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s minister of police, urged communities to help police solve crimes such as the killing of the children, saying the government would
not tolerate lawlessness in the street.