Johannesburg: Four Chinese were burned to death in a suspected arson attack at a store at which they were working in the rural South African town of Ganyesa, police said on Friday.
Those killed were three men and a woman and police have opened a murder investigation. They were trapped in the building by burglar bars put on windows to prevent break-ins and blocked doors that prevented their exit.
"They made a phone call saying they can`t get out and escape the burning," says Thulane Ngubane, a spokesman for the South African Police Service.
"They were burnt beyond recognition. We will follow a scientific process to identify who they are," Ngubane said.
Police would not release information about possible suspects. The town is about 400 kilometres (240 miles) north of Johannesburg.
Numerous foreign merchants, mostly from neighbouring African countries, have been the victims of violence in South Africa with locals blaming them for taking jobs and monopolising commerce in impoverished areas.