‘Operation Fiela casts fear into foreigners’

Doctors Without Borders said the remaining foreign nationals at refugee camps in KZN are afraid of going back.

FILE: Doctors Without Borders said the remaining foreign nationals at refugee camps in KwaZulu-Natal are afraid of going back to their homes because of Operation Fiela. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Doctors Without Borders said the remaining foreign nationals at refugee camps in KwaZulu-Natal are afraid of going back to their homes because of Operation Fiela.

The camps were set up in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to accommodate those displaced during xenophobic attacks last month.

Just over 500 people are still taking refuge at Chatsworth camp.

Doctors Without Borders Borrie la Grange said they are providing therapy to prepare people who will have to reintegrate into society.

"At this stage people are in good health in the camps. We are focusing on preparing mentally for reintegrating into a community which they fed earlier. It's very important people feel that they can regain trust."

OVER 12,000 ARRESTED IN KZN

Last week, KwaZulu-Natal police said they've arrested over 12,000 people for crimes ranging from rape to theft thanks to Operation Fiela.

The controversial joint operation between the South African Police Service (Saps), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Home Affairs has been the most successful operation in the seizing of criminal elements from known hotspots.

WATCH: _ Police & the army hold their second joint raid in a xenophobic hotspot._

Of the 12,171 suspects, 223 were arrested for murder while 169 were arrested for rape, all of whom appeared in courts across the province.

Illegal firearms and goods including drugs were also seized during the operations.

WATCH: _ EWN reveals more dramatic footage from the Jeppestown hostel raid._

The police's Thulani Zwane said, "These arrests include suspects who were apprehended for murder, robbery, rape, possession of unlicensed firearm, as well as other cases. We're appealing to members of the community to please work hand-in-hand with the police."

The joint operation was sparked by xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg last month.