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South Africa: Over 1,000 immigrants, mostly Africans flee after attacks


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(By Estera Popowska)
South African police said yesterday that over a thousand immigrants have fled their homes following a series of violent attacks by locals in the eastern port city of Durban, Daily Monitor reported Friday.

According to reports, the immigrants, mostly African, have been housed at police stations and tents, as angry locals vowed to push them out -- in South Africa's latest case of xenophobic unrest.

A South African police spokesman Thulani Zwane reportedly said. “ They [foreigners] said they were intimidated to vacate their homes by locals and came to us because they feared for their lives.”

Thursday’s incident is not new as clashes between immigrants and locals often flare up in South Africa, as impoverished residents accuse them of taking their jobs.

Since Monday, the situation has reportedly been tense, with more people fleeing their homes in the south of the city. However, Police said no deaths had been reported since the violence started.

On Wednesday, Police reportedly broke up a march by a group of foreign nationals who were protesting against the violence, firing water cannons and tear gas.

Spokesman Eugene Msomi said the crowd had to be dispersed when they failed to follow orders to do so adding that the march was illegal.“They were informed in writing the day before not to march due to prevailing safety concerns,” Msomi reportedly said.

The attacks came days after Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini publicly said immigrants should “pack their bags and leave”South Africa. The comments made during a traditional event north of KwaZulu Natal province were widely reported.

Similar statements have been reportedly made by President Jacob Zuma's son Edward (Source: Daily Monitor)

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