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For illustration purposes only. The violence has erupted on the eve of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, where hundreds of political and business leaders will gather for three days (AFP Photo/Phill Magakoe)
At least 544 Mozambicans have fallen victim to xenophobic violence in the current wave of anti-foreigner riots in South Africa.
They have lost their homes, and are requesting assistance from the Mozambican government. According to Augusta Maita, the director of the Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), 397 of these victims have expressed a desire to return to Mozambique.
Maita told a Friday press conference that the Mozambican diplomatic representations in South Africa are undertaking a survey of the Mozambicans caught up in the violence, and are identifying their urgent needs and the best means of supporting them.
The Disaster Management Technical Council (CTGC) met in Maputo on Friday afternoon to study the best strategy for the voluntary repatriation of Mozambicans from South Africa and how to assist them once they are back on Mozambican soil.
“The Mozambican state is concerned about the situation affecting the Mozambicans who live in South Africa”, said Maita. “As part of its duty to provide assistance and consular support, the State is studying adequate measures to guarantee the security of our citizens. This involves studying repatriation, which must be voluntary”.
So far there are no reports of any Mozambicans killed or injured in the current violence, she added, but there are many Mozambicans who have been displaced from their homes, and are now in a state of panic.
The INGC, together with the Mozambican Foreign Ministry and other partners, is organising the logistical support for returning migrants. A place has been identified in Moamba district, about 60 kilometres north of Maputo, where an accommodation centre can be established to receive those who have nowhere else to go.
“We hope that by late Saturday this space will be ready”, said Maita.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geraldo Sorange said the violence was perpetrated under the cloak of the false argument that foreigners are taking jobs away from South Africans.
“These acts of violence”, he said, “have resulted in the destruction of homes and shops, and have prevented the free movement of people and goods. It is our duty to provide assistance to our fellow-citizens”.Source: AIM
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