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25,000 troops deployed in South Africa amid riots, 117 dead

The crisis in South Africa continues.

South Africa soldiers James Oatway, Getty Images

The riots in South Africa have continued, and the local government is doing what they can to stop them.

According to a Thursday (July 15) report from the Associated Press, 25,000 South African soldiers have been deployed in an effort to stop the riots that began after former South African President Jacob Zuma was imprisoned last week. On July 7, he turned himself in to authorities for refusing to testify in an inquiry that investigated claims of corruption during his tenure as president. 117 people have been killed in the chaos of the riots, which have also seen 2,200 people arrested for theft and vandalism.

The AP says that this is one of the largest deployments of soldiers “since the end of White minority rule.” The violence of the riots has mostly transpired in impoverished areas, and soldiers have traveled in everything from buses to planes in order to get to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal province, where a lot of the issues have been unfolding.

For her part, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who is operating as South Africa’s acting minister in the presidency, has made it clear what she does and doesn’t believe these riots are. “These are not demonstrations,” she said at a briefing today. “This is economic sabotage and we are investigating with a view to apprehending the instigators.”

Other officials in the South African government have noted that 10,000 rounds of ammunition have been found in Durban, and that much of the violence has been coordinated. South African analyst William Gumede says it’s important that the people who’ve participated in these riots face legal consequences.

“This is going to be very important,” he explained. “First to restore the rule of law in South Africa and to prevent impunity, because if people can get away with looting without being prosecuted, they will do it again. ... So it’s going to be very important. I think we may have to set up special courts.”

See scenes from the sites of the riots for yourself in the video below.

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