Refugees arrested after refusing to leave camp

2015-07-03 17:05

(File) (Nielen de Klerk)

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Durban - About 140 displaced foreign nationals were arrested after refusing to leave the Chatsworth refugee grounds in Durban on Friday morning, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

The temporary refugee camp, established to protect potential victims of xenophobic violence, officially closed down on June 30, Colonel Jay Naicker said.

“This [Friday] morning members of the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Joints) held an operation at the camp after it was found a large number of people were still camping on the grounds after being informed by the city not to do so,” he said in a statement.

This comes after they refused help from government and non-government organisations (NGOs).

“This morning at 10:00, South African Police Services (SAPS), Durban Metropolitan Police, Department of Social Development, the municipality and other role players arrived at the sports grounds and arrested those found camping illegally,” Naicker said.

The foreign nationals were taken to the Chatsworth police station where they will be charged with violating the city by-laws.

Some of them will also be charged for breaching the Child Care Act, as about 80 of the foreigners in the camp were children.

The minors were placed in the care of the Department of Social Development to be sent to a local home.

Within half and hour, all the belongings had been cleared from the grounds and the area was empty.

"This operation was executed swiftly and in a very professional manner. It is unfortunate this group chose to disregard warnings by government and NGOs and blatantly contravened the laws of this country.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to such activities, as they also pose a threat to peace and stability in the country," provincial Joints chairperson Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said.

Read more on:    durban  |  refugees  |  xenophobia

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