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South Africa: Malawi to repatriate nationals as xenophobic violence increases


SomaNet News Archive

(By Estera Popowska)
Following an upsurge in xenophobic violence, Malawi says it will repatriate its nationals from South Africa. According to reports, at least five foreigners, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in attacks in South Africa's coastal city of Durban since last week.

At least 200 South Africans on Tuesday attacked foreign-owned shops, on Dr Pixley KaSeme Street (West Street), prompting riot police to shut down the area, Times Live reported Wednesday adding that foreigners took up arms to fight back.

In the main city Johannesburg, some foreign-owned shops have shut amid fears that the violence could spread. Zimbabwe has also condemned the attacks, blamed on locals who accuse foreigners of taking their jobs.

Tens of thousands of foreigners, mostly from other African states and Asia, have moved to South Africa since white-minority rule ended in 1994. At least 62 people died in xenophobic attacks that swept South Africa in 2008.

Malawi is the only country which has so far decided to repatriate its citizens since South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba assured diplomats from Nigeria, Somalia, Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia that their citizens would be protected.

BBC says atleast 420 Malawians are reportedly living in refugee camps in Durban after fleeing the violence, he said. The BBC's Raphael Tenthani reports from Blantyre that he received a call from a Malawian in Durban who said saw he some Malawians being killed - including a close friend who was burned alive.

Mr Nankhumwa called on the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to intervene to help protect foreigners.
“This is unfortunate coming at a time we are working on regional integration,” he said at a press conference adding, “We urge the government of South Africa to protect foreigners.”