Filed under: Africa, Poverty, Racism | Tags: Durban, Johannesburg, South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, Violence
The BBC reports that South Africa President Thabo Mbeki has approved the deployment of the army to quell violence against foreigners. Xenophobic violence has now plagued some of South Africa’s largest cities for more than a week. Thousands of foreigners, mostly from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, have fled into refugee shelters since the violence began on May 11 in Alexandra township. Thus are, violence has left more than 20 people dead and is estimated to have driven 30,000 people from their homes. The foreigners are expectantly, as is the case in most cases of anti-immigrant sentiment, being accused of stealing jobs and perpetuating the general chaos that plagues most of the townships.
The announcement from his office came after xenophobic attacks spread outside Johannesburg to the city of Durban.
It is the first time troops are being ordered out onto the streets to quell unrest since the end of apartheid.
The violence, which began last week, has left more than 20 people dead and is estimated to have driven 30,000 people from their homes.
The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation says many of the people were sheltering in mosques and churches around Johannesburg.
There are believed to be between three and five million foreigners living in South Africa, most of them Zimbabweans fleeing poverty and violence at home.
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