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Foreign nationals removed from UNHCR office spend night in a CT church

They had camped outside the offices for weeks, demanding the UN help them leave South Africa as they feared falling victim to xenophobic violence.

Refugees living in Cape Town spent the night at the Central Methodist Mission Church after clashes with police during their removal from the UNHCR's offices on 30 October 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A group of foreigners, among them refugees, has spent the night in a church in Cape Town.

They were forcibly removed from outside United Nations offices on Wednesday in the city centre.

They had camped outside the offices for weeks, demanding the UN help them leave South Africa as they feared falling victim to xenophobic violence.

Hundreds of foreigners now call the Central Methodist Mission Church their home for now.

Young and old sat in the pews with their meager belongings piled next to them while some comforted their babies.

On the pavement outside the church, people were making food and had hung their clothes on a steel fence.

Aid group Gift of the Givers has donated clothes and food.

The organisation's Ali Sabley said: “When we came in here last night, they all had black bags and we immediately distributed 1,000 blankets and some nappies. We will be giving them a nutritious meal for supper.”

Eyewitness News has been told representatives are to meet with officials from the UN Refugee Agency following Wednesday’s chaos.

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