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Xenophobic attacks spread in KZN

Foreign shop owners were chased out of KwaMashu and told to go back to where they came from.

Provincial government in KwaZulu-Natal has set up four camps throughout the province to house foreign nationals who have fallen victim to xenophobic attacks. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

KWAMASHU - Police are on high alert in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal where attacks on foreign nationals have spread.

Police reinforcements have been called in from units across the country as local police struggle to contain the violence.

Last night, public order police had to be called in to protect shop owners who were chased out of the area by a rampant mob.

Many shop owners had to abandon their belongings as they were chased out of the township by angry youths who said they should go back to where they come from.

The spate of violence has left five people dead.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been largely blamed for the anti-foreigner sentiment after he reportedly told a gathering that foreigners should 'pack their bags and go home'.

Attacks against foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal's townships are continuing unabated.

The attacks, which started last week, have displaced over 2,000 people and the provincial government has set up four camps throughout the province to house them.

A Zimbabwean living at one of KwaZulu-Natal's four refugee sites has told Eyewitness News he has been made to feel like a criminal despite coming to South Africa to find legal work.

"The people from South Africa chased me out. We came here to work and not to steal or do some wrong thing."

Makeshift tents, heaps of litter and personal belongings lay sprawled as those displaced by the violence deal with the trauma of being chased from their homes.

More than 1,500 foreign nationals from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Burundi have sought refuge at a local Chatsworth soccer stadium.

The temporary refugee camp has been set up by the eThekwini Municipality and is being protected by the police.

At least 28 people were arrested on Sunday night during xenophobic violence in which Somali, Ethiopian and Pakistani people were attacked.

LISTEN: Human rights and gender activist Elinor Sisulu has warned SA businesses operating in African countries will most likely feel the backlash from xenophobic attacks

Yesterday, the Department of Home Affairs said that while tensions were running high between African foreigners and residents of KwaMashu and Umlazi in Durban, it was important for leaders and all South Africans at large to make sure their comments did not incite violence.

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