South Africa deployed troops on Tuesday to areas recently hit by a surge in anti-immigrant attacks that has claimed seven lives and exposed the government’s inability to stop the violence.
Soldiers were sent to support the police in Alexandra, a poor, predominantly black township in Johannesburg where South African men were photographed fatally stabbing a Mozambican man over the weekend. A couple from Zimbabwe suffered injuries from a shooting in Alexandra on Monday night.
Though the township had otherwise quieted down the past two nights, the government made a show of sending the army there on Tuesday, perhaps stung by growing criticism that its slowness in responding to this wave of violence had helped it spread.
“We come in as the last resort,” Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the defense minister, told reporters at a news conference in Alexandra. “The army will serve as a deterrent.”
Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula added, “This is not too late; this is just the right time.”