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'Asylum seeker in coma after scuffle with police'

Fearful foreigners are begging for intervention by the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees.

Picture supplied by community leader Willy Chikuru (also took the image) - allegedly showing Burundian national Juma Saidi unconscious after being hit by police at Isipingo displacement camp in Durban.

JOHANNESBURG - An asylum seeker is recovering in hospital after he was injured in an apparent scuffle between police and foreigners at a displacement camp in Isipingo, south of Durban.

The altercation was apparently sparked by an attempt by authorities to take down some of the tents housing people who have been displaced in recent flare ups of xenophobic violence in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

At least seven people have been killed in the violence that first erupted in Isipingo, late last month.

Maison Bilomble's voice falters as he describes seeing police beat his friend.

The lunch queue at the displacement camp where around 1,000 people are being housed. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

Burundian asylum seeker Juma Saidi apparently lost consciousness after he was hit on the head with a pistol after an altercation with police members, when authorities tried to take down several tents.

The residents say when they protested, police became heavy-handed.

The EFF has arrived at the camp. They say they plan to take info about conditions to Parliament. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

Friends of Saidi say he is in a coma, and they do not know whether he will survive, while other fearful residents appear traumatised and shocked and say they do not know who to trust.

Foreign nationals have told Eyewitness News that they are petrified after being threatened by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) visited the camp yesterday to hand out blankets and mattresses.

But residents say an angry minister then turned on them, also telling EWN to leave the area.

Several refugees reported being threatened by Dlamini for accepting donations from the EFF.

"He said to me, you see now, you are supporting Malema, wait, I can assure you in the night, when Malema goes."

It comes a day after a camp resident was allegedly brutalised by police.

Fearful foreigners are begging for intervention by the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees.

"We need the UN to come to our side, please, we are in danger, we are not safe here anymore."

Officials on scene were not prepared to comment.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has asked the South African government for compensation for the victims of the xenophobic attacks.