Foreign embassies prepare to ‘evacuate’ citizens from SA

2015-04-16 14:45

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As xenophobic violence flares up in Johannesburg, Somalia and Malawi are alleged to be making plans to pull their citizens out of South Africa.

Violent attacks started a few weeks ago in KwaZulu-Natal, apparently after a speech made by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Shops owned by foreigners were looted and immigrants moved to refugee camps to escape the attacks.

Yesterday foreign nationals in Johannesburg said that they had received messages telling them to close their shops because a mob was on its way to kill them.

There were a number of flare-ups in the city centre, and some people were injured in the fray.

Malawi’s information minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, reportedly said that at least 400 Malawians would be repatriated. He added that the number would climb as more people came out of hiding.

Somalia is also reported to be in the process of trying to help its people escape the violence, though City Press could not confirm this.

Speaking to City Press yesterday, Elias Worku from the Ethiopian embassy said that there were no plans to evacuate Ethiopians from South Africa as yet.

“It depends on the people. The government will not force anyone to relocate. The government of Ethiopia and the embassy are working very closely with South Africa’s government to try and provide protection for Ethiopians.”

He added that his office had received a number of pleas for help from Ethiopian citizens who feared for their lives.

“What we have done – and have been doing – is to provide Ethiopians with emergency travel documents for people who don’t have passports or other forms of identity.”

Thousands of people were expected to attend a peace march in Durban this morning against the ongoing attacks.

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