WATCH AFTERMATH OF DURBAN RIOTS. CITIES UP IN ASHES

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Protests which began after former South African President Jacob Zuma handed himself into police to serve a 15-month sentence have descended into days of violence and looting. The BBC has spoken to a few of the people caught in the middle.

“We are on fire,” Ian – not his real name – tells the BBC from riot-hit Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

In the last three days, he reckons he has managed an hour or two of sleep at a time. He and his team – who work for a private security company – are surviving on energy drinks as they wait and watch.

They have given up trying to stop the looting which has destroyed so many buildings since protests calling for South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma to be freed from jail began last week. Ian has heard reports of three security guards being killed since the weekend.

In another part of Durban, a woman is preparing to make the 20-minute drive to her family from her home in a badly hit residential area. She doesn’t know if she will make it, or be turned back by one of the blockades which have popped up on the city’s roads.

But she knows she cannot bear another night of lying in bed listening to the gunshots.

“I am so scared,” the woman – who asked not to be named – told the BBC.

“It literally feels like being in a war zone with gunshots, fires and smoke going up everywhere for the last two days.”