Xenophobia: Repatriated Zimbabweans 'severely traumatised'

Cape Town – Zimbabwe's ministry of health says some of the more than 400 Zimbabweans who were repatriated to their country following the spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa were "severely traumatised" and needed special counselling.

The Herald quoted ministry of health official Dorcas Sithole as saying at least 18 out of 456 repatriated Zimbabwean nationals needed special attention.

"Out of 456 [received], 97 had mental health problems, while 18 needed special counselling," Sithole was quoted as saying.

Sithole said the ministry had to counsel the victims because they "experienced horrible things".

The first batch of Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobia arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday and many had harrowing tales to tell.

Greener pastures

Although police in South Africa said only one Zimbabwean had been killed during the xenophobic attacks, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo confirmed that some of the returnees were suggesting that the number of those killed in the attacks is much higher than is being reported.

Moyo said in a tweet: "Some of SA's victims of xenophobic attacks repatriated to Zim say number of the dead & unidentified in mortuaries is being suppressed. Sad!"

This comes as South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Tuesday that a Zimbabwean couple was shot in Alexandra on Monday night but survived.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe has come under fire, with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) saying the veteran leader was answerable for Zimbabweans killed in SA.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, the MDC Renewal group challenged Mugabe to fix the economy, saying the country's economic meltdown was the reason why Zimbabweans continued to be "exposed to brutal and cold-blooded murder in South Africa".

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