Several shops owned by Rwandan expats have been targeted in xenophobic attacks in Zambia's capital Lusaka. It is believed the attacks were carried out as people accused the shop owners of being behind ritual killings, something the accused have denied.

"We are living in fear," a Rwandan man who declined to be named told news agency AFP. He added Rwandans did not have anything to do with the murders. Rwandan refugees own several shops in the affected area of Lusaka.

Police spokeswoman Charity Chanda said in a statement: "Residents of Zingalume and George are looting shops belonging to foreigners... on suspicion that they are involved in the recent murders. Officers in full riot gear have been deployed in the area."

The riots against foreign-owned shops were sparked after police confirmed the arrest of four people in connection with recent ritual murders. The four suspects were found in possession of what is thought to be human flesh.

It is believed that at least six corpses with missing body parts – including ears, genitals and hearts – were found in the capital over the past four weeks.