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Grahamstown xenophobic tensions defused

Officials say more than 80 people were arrested for public violence.

FILE: The march against xenophobia attacks ended at the Mary Fitzgerald Square on 23 April 2015, with many people holding signs that call for peace and an end to the attacks. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Police are confident they've managed to defuse tensions in Grahamstown following an outbreak of xenophobic violence.

Almost 500 foreigners were sent fleeing from their homes in a local township after some locals turned on them.

The foreign nationals have been accused of several murders in the community.

The foreigners are being kept in a place of safety.

Several homes were destroyed while shops belonging to foreigners were looted in violence last week, leaving almost 500 people displaced.

The police's Mali Govender said, "We've managed to safely evacuate them to a place of safety. In custody currently, there are over 80 people who've been remanded until Friday."

Govender added that authorities have met with residents.

"We've had community meetings with them outlining their concerns and what the Saps as well as what government's role is in trying to normalise the situation at the moment."

The arrested are due in court on Friday where they'll face charges of public violence related to the acts of criminality and looting.