Meeting planned in Durban to discuss xenophobic attacks

A mass meeting will be held on Tuesday evening in Durban’s Albert Park to discuss recent vicious attacks on foreigners in the area.

Albert Park councillor Vusi Khoza said the meeting would explore ways of dealing with the xenophobic attacks.

“We will have representatives from the community policing forum, the police and foreign nationals during the meeting. We want to find a solution to this problem and to explain to our people that these attacks should stop,” said Khoza.

At least three foreigners have died amid renewed tensions in Albert Park.

According to police reports, a Malawian, Mozambican and a Zimbabwean fell to their deaths on Sunday when they tried to escape from about 150 people, some of whom were carrying bush knives.
The mob entered a high-rise building inhabited by foreigners, forcing several to flee by jumping from windows.

The Malawian man died after jumping from the sixth storey while two others sustained serious injuries and died later at Durban’s Addington Hospital.

The incident comes about six months after a wave of xenophobic attacks swept South Africa, leaving at least 60 dead and about 100 000 displaced.

Khoza said he had been forewarned of the attacks on Friday and had informed the police.

“The foreigners also called me on Saturday and I tried to calm people down. When they called me again on Sunday night, the situation had got worse. One person was dead and others injured,” he said.

Superintendent Vincent Mdunge, KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, said there had been no arrests in connection with the attacks.

“Although the people who have been attacked are foreigners, we do not know whether the attacks were xenophobic. We are still investigating,” said Mdunge.

The chairperson of the International Refugee Service, Omar Osman, said the attacks had targeted foreigners.

“We have heard excuses that the attackers were looking for criminals. That is a blatant lie,” he said.

Osman said when the attackers stormed the building, they were shouting “we want amakwerekwere” [foreigners].

Osman said more than 10 foreigners sustained serious injuries during the attack.

“Most of them broke their legs,” he said. - Sapa

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