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Foreigners flee xenophobic attacks in South Africa


South Africa

Foreigners flee xenophobic attacks in South Africa

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Foreign nationals in South Africa are seeking protection as xenophobic attacks hit at least nine provinces.

In Verulum, KwaZulu Natal, people have fled their homes and are now living in tents behind a police station.

South Africa is home to some 5 million immigrants who come from across Africa and further afield.

“Speaking for Zimbabweans, so many of them, the majority that we have visited, want to go back home,” Isaac Moyo, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, said. “We are working with the South African government, we are going to make sure that the processes required to have these people repatriated back to Zimbabwe are in place.”

At least five people have been killed and up to 7,000 displaced in anti-immigrant violence that has swept the country in recent weeks.

Police in Johannesburg used rubber bullets on Friday night to fight off looters after a day of tense stand-offs between locals and foreigners. They also blocked the city ring road to clear the streets of protesters.

Violence flared after Zulu King Goodwill Zelithini was reported as saying foreigners should leave the country. He has since said his comments were misrepresented.

Dozens of South Africans living in neighbouring Mozambique left the country on Friday fearing reprisal attacks.

The South African government has asked for diplomatic support from across the continent to defeat what it calls the “demon” of anti-immigrant violence.

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