April 18, 2015 – Over 5000 Nigerians Flee Durban & Other South African Cities As Xenophobic War Killed 2000 Foreigners
Causes Of Xenophobic War In Durban South Africa: Survivors Accused Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini Of Ordering Attacks On Foreigners
The lives of many Nigerians and foreigners living in Durban and other cities in South Africa are in jeopardy as the country embarks on killing of foreigners. Not less than five and 2000 foreigners have been killed and displaced in the ongoing xenophobic war.
The crisis, which is only experienced in Durban, a city in the country, has put foreigners on their toes and heels. The other foreigners are suspected to be from sister countries and have raised alarm for their government to send rescue mission. Those who could afford to return home have done so without hesitating.
According to a local source, some of the immigrants left the country without anything they owned and more than 2,000 foreigners have sought shelter in refugee camps in the coastal city.
The refugee camps, set up on sports fields around Durban, will not be large enough if attacks on immigrants continue, said Imtiaz Sooliman, of the Gift of the Givers organisation. Those who can afford it are planning to leave the country, he said.
“They’ve lost their houses, they’ve lost their businesses, they’ve lost everything,” said Sooliman.
The attack, according to police authority, has started since March in a quiet coordinated form. The police said that five people have been killed and 74 people arrested “since attacks against immigrants began at the end of March,” said police spokesman, Col. Jay Naicker in a statement.
South African newspapers published photos of foreigners armed with knives and machetes to protect themselves. A newspaper showed Nigerian shop owners barricaded themselves behind burning tires as South Africans looted storefronts.
Cause of the crisis
A Nigerian, Chidindu, who works at Durban City Mall, said over the phone that he has fled to Johannesburg.
“Brother, I had to leave that town. It’s true that they are fighting foreigners, they said that we foreigners have taken their jobs and the fewer jobs available do not have good pay because foreigners would take jobs without considering the pay,” Chidindu stated.
Like Chidindu, different groups and news agencies have said that the crisis started as a result of unavailability of jobs for the Zulus. Some said that the crisis might have been incited by the comment of a very popular and influential figure among the Zulu ethnic group, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who said that foreigners should “pack their bags and go.”,
Zwelithini has since appealed for an end to the unrest, and says he has been misquoted, but many of those rioting were heard chanting “the King has spoken”, Patel said.
The southern African nation of Malawi plans to repatriate at least 400 of its citizens following the attacks in South Africa, said Kondwani Nankhumwa, Malawi’s information minister.
Malawi is currently in discussions with South Africa to arrange temporary travel papers for stranded Malawians because most lost their passports in the chaos, Nankhumwa said.
“Most of them fled with literally nothing to safe camps,” Nankhumwa said. “The numbers will swell since some Malawians are in hiding.”
South Africa President Jacob Zuma condemned the violence and assigned several cabinet ministers to work on the problem with officials in KwaZulu-Natal province, which includes Durban.
The government is addressing South African citizens’ “complaints about illegal and undocumented migrants, the takeover of local shops and other businesses by foreign nationals as well as perceptions that foreign nationals perpetrate crime”, Zuma’s office said in a statement.
[By LAWRENCE ENYOGHASU WITH AGENCY REPORT]