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Calm restored in Zambia following xenophobic attacks

Troops deployed to contain the unrest have been withdrawn from Lusaka’s streets.

FILE. Zambian Police patrol near the Chawama Compound where residents have attacked broken and looted foreign-run shops in Lusaka on 19 April, 2016. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Calm has returned to Zambia after xenophobic violence that saw two deaths and dozens of foreign-owned shops looted.

Troops deployed to contain the unrest have been withdrawn from Lusaka's streets.

The Economic Intelligence Unit says this week's xenophobic attacks have highlighted how a challenging economic backdrop can fuel social tensions and weaken security.

It says although the riots may have been triggered by the suspected ritual killings, high youth unemployment and rapidly rising cost of living have increased frustration among locals, especially youths.

Many foreign nationals run thriving small businesses in townships and the central business district of Lusaka.

As ordinary Zambians grapple with a tough economic climate, hostility towards foreigners has increased.

The disturbances have tarnished Zambia's credentials as a safe haven for refugees fleeing conflict in other parts of Africa.