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Hundreds flee overnight xenophobic violence in Germiston

Majority of the foreign nationals who slept at the Primrose police station have returned to their homes.

Thousands of foreign nationals have been housed at Greenwood Park refugee camp following violent attacks on their shops in Durban. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say while the majority of foreign nationals who spent the night outside the Primrose Police Station have returned to their homes, a small group remains on the premises.

Hundreds of foreigners were forced to flee their homes overnight and seek refuge outside the police station and at a nearby petrol station.

The police's Lungelo Dlamini says they will maintain a strong presence in the area.

"A group of foreign nationals that are staying at a nearby informal settlement in Primrose went to the police station yesterday claiming that they were fear for their safety. During midnight some of them left."

A community leader in Primrose says he believes the xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) may have had an influence on the looting of foreign-owned shops in the area last night.

Thomas Mchunu says the attacks in KZN may have influenced some locals to turn on their foreign neighbours. He believes the attacks also have an element of criminality.

Authorities have confirmed a Mozambican man was wounded after he was shot while trying to prevent a mob from entering his shop.

WATCH: SABC reporter Aldrin Sampear caught this footage of violent clashes in the Johannesburg CBD

Unconfirmed reports say another man was stabbed to death.

Some foreign nationals say they're now considering returning home, but it will be difficult to leave South Africa, a country they've called home for more than a decade.

Sporadic scenes of violence unfolded in the Johannesburg CBD yesterday with cars stoned, foreigners closing their shops and at least two people injured.

WATCH: Xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg's CBD.

'WE'RE WAITING FOR THEM AND WE WILL FIGHT BACK'

Police were deployed to various hot spots yesterday, closing streets in a bid to control the violence.

Foreigners say they received a message warning that locals would attack them and loot their shops.

The message which was posted on social platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, reads:

"Xenophobic attack is just around the corner for the second time around JHB CBD and neighbouring areas like Alex,Olievenhoutbosch,Zandspruit,Msawawa,Cosmo city,Tembisa,Randburg,Princess,Kysand,Kaalfontein,Germiston,Benoni etc...The spokesperson for this Furious group honourable Khimzman Mquebulera warns his fellow South African on Wednesday not to ride the Bicycles as Malawians and Zimbabweans does,because this attack will be more destructive than ever before,pliz send this notice to ur all frinds to be in doors on Wednesday.Take ir serious our friends r killed like Coackroaches (sic)."

The message resulted in more than half of foreigners locking up their stock and refusing to do business yesterday.

The fear and panic spilled over into the streets when a foreigner was attacked at lunchtime, allegedly because of his nationality.

The foreigners, who have been living in South Africa for more than 10 years, say they fear for their lives every day.

They're anxious after seeing footage of xenophobic attacks in KZN, saying it's renewed their fear of falling victim because of where they were born.

"We're humans, not animals. As we're walking, we don't steal and don't do anything to them."

They say they fear for their safety, but will put up a fight to guard their property and shops which they have called home for decades.

Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

A foreign national says he will make sure he doesn't fall victim to criminal elements.

"We are not scared to die, we're waiting for them and we will fight back."

A Malawian man says he is now considering returning to his home country.

"I don't want to die here, these people, they want to fight."

Foreigners operating in Jeppestown, where locals also threatened to attack, say they tired of the ongoing attacks in the area.

Meanwhile, violence escalated with people stoning cars, hitting a woman driving past.

#Jeppestown This woman has been hit with a brick. She was driving through Jeppestown.

ML pic.twitter.com/XrvivcYwGE

It's unclear what sparked the attacks.

While opposition parties on Wednesday requested a snap debate on the xenophobic violence, President Jacob Zuma has asked to instead deliver a statement, which opposition parties can then respond to.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) said a strong message needed to be sent out condemning the attacks.

UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa explained, "We need to send a strong message to the world that we aren't part of this nonsense."

In a pre-recorded message broadcast on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) radio and TV yesterday, Zuma called for an end to the killing and condemned the attacks.

WATCH : Jacob Zuma tries to quell tensions

Visit EWN's live blog for rolling updates on the xenophobic attacks.

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