Six injured in xenophobic attacks

2009-12-08 11:52

 

AT LEAST six foreign nationals are fighting for their lives in

hospital after being attacked and left “lying in a pool of blood” in Limpopo in

the latest case of xenophobic related attacks in the country.

Polokwane police were forced to patrol the streets of Westenburg

township for six-hours last night and to evacuate 100 Zimbabweans after some

local residents threatened to kill them unless they left their area.

South Africans battling recession went door-to-door after 6pm

ordering Zimbabweans out of the coloured-dominated township.

They accused them

of various forms of crimes, including the murder of a 23-year-old man at a

tavern over the weekend.

Paramedics rushed the six injured men to the Polokwane Provincial

Hospital where they are said to be in a critical condition.

Dozens of police officers patrolled the streets until midnight as

groups of disgruntled residents milled around the dark streets.

Enoch Madziro (36), a Zimbabwean, said about 12 men surrounded the

home in which he is renting a backyard room and threatened to kill

foreigners.

Some of them were armed with iron bars, Madziro added.

Police later used a bus to evacuate the foreigners, including a

two-month-old girl, to the old Peter Mokaba Stadium where they spent the night

in the players’ change rooms.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said the six

victims were found lying in a pool of blood in three separate locations in the

township and in the nearby bushes.

He said angry locals just entered their homes, attacked them and

left.

Although he admitted that only foreigners were evacuated, Ngoape

claimed mob justice was the motive for the attacks. “The issue of evacuating

foreigners does not mean we think the motive is xenophobic.
We are just removing

everybody we think might be a target.”

But locals such as Jason Botha (26) and Schabir Kalla, a local

councillor, confirmed the attacks were related to xenophobia.

They said residents were prepared to live side by side with the

Zimbabweans only if they “behaved”.

Ngoepe declined to say where the foreigners had been taken to, but

City Press traced them to the stadium.

After the bodyguard of Polokwane mayor, Thabo Makunyane, initially

tried to stop the media from speaking to the evacuees, members of the media

later found the foreign nationals crammed on the floor with hardly any

blankets.

These Limpopo attacks come just weeks after residents of the De

Doorn in the Western Cape forced out 3000 Zimbabweans from the farming

community. They accused them of stealing their jobs.

At least 22 of them appeared in court for crimes relating to

robbery and assault.


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