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Locals clean up after over-night looting, when protesters took to the streets to demonstrate the killing of a boy in Coligny, North West province, South Africa, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Two white South African farmers were arrested on suspicion of murdering a black boy in a farming community in North West province, police said on Wednesday, as racial violence persists two decades after the end of apartheid.

Police spokesman, Sabata Mokgwabone, said crowds gathered on Tuesday to protest about poor basic services in Coligny, about 200 kms (124 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, and then started demanding that arrests be made over the boy's death.

"What we know is that this boy allegedly jumped out of a moving vehicle driven by a farmer, not necessarily to say that he was killed by the farmer, and then police were called to the scene and they summoned an ambulance, which took him to the clinic," Mokgwabone said. The boy died at the clinic, he said.

The demonstrators burnt down four houses and set fire to three trucks and a tractor.

Mokgwabone said the two suspects, aged 26 and 33, were arrested late on Tuesday on suspicion of murder and will appear in court on Friday.

He said police had not yet determined whether the farmer who was driving the vehicle is one of those arrested.

In a separate incident, police on Tuesday clashed with protesters demanding better housing in Lichtenburg near Coligny.

Anger over poverty and joblessness is often been aimed at the local governments tasked with providing services such as water, roads and schools many blacks were deprived of under white rule.

In November, two white men were in court to face charges of assault and kidnapping after a video showed them forcing a wailing black man into a coffin in Mpumalanga province. [nL8N1DH26M]

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by James Macharia and Louise Ireland)

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