2 Bangladeshi shopkeepers bludgeoned to death in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Two Bangladeshi shopkeepers have been beaten to death in South Africa, the police said on Thursday, the latest in a series of violent attacks against immigrants.

Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said the men, aged 26 and 27, were found dead in the back room of their shop near the casino resort of Sun City, north west of Johannesburg.

"They seem to have been hit with hard objects like a hammer, all over the body," he said. "They were confirmed dead on the scene."

A third man who is thought to live or work with the men is missing.

"We don't know his whereabouts, but our investigation will check if he is still alive or dead," said Mr Ngubane.

"We don't know the motive and the cause of the murder," he said, adding that the deaths may not be linked to a spate of xenophobic attacks across the country.

Last month in the Indian Ocean city of Port Elizabeth more than 150 largely Somali-run grocery shops were looted in four days of violence.

Foreign hawkers were targeted during riots in Cape Town on Wednesday, amid anger over poor living conditions and joblessness.