Three people have been held for questioning over the murders of two toddlers whose bodies were found in community toilets which sparked riots in South Africa on Tuesday.
Residents accused police of failing to protect the girls who were discovered by a local resident in Diepsloot township, north of Johannesburg.
The cousins, aged two and three-years-old, had been missing since Saturday.
Protesters barricaded roads and burnt tyres, and foreign-owned shops were looted, according to South Africa’s Star newspaper.
President Jacob Zuma said in a statement: “These gruesome incidents of extreme torture and murder of our children do not belong to the society that we are continuously striving to build together."
Mr Zuma condemned the murders and appealed to residents to work with the police to identify the perpetrators, rather than taking the law into their own hands.
“We condemn these murders in the strongest possible terms. Whilst we appeal to the communities not to take the matters into their hands, we also want to urge them to work with law enforcement authorities to find the perpetrators and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
The South African Press Association reported that Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said three people had been detained but the police were looking for a fourth person.
He said police were also investigating the possibility that the case is linked to the murder of a five year old girl, whose body was discovered in the same area in September.
In another incident, the body of a boy believed to have been aged between four and six was discovered less than an hour’s drive from Diepsloot township. The body, which bore evidence of torture and abuse, was discovered in a field in Katlehong earlier this month.
Police have not ruled out a possible case of a serial killer targeting children.