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CT cops stationed outside church after conflict among foreign nationals

Violence erupted at the church on Sunday following a disagreement between rival factions on whether a Sunday service should be conducted.

Police attend to a dispute involving refugees and foreign nationals at the Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square in Cape Town on 29 December 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The situation at the Central Methodist Mission on Greenmarket Square was calm on Monday.

The church is hosting hundreds of refugees and foreign nationals. They’re part of the national refugee grouping that wants the UNHCR to airlift them out of South Africa because of the threat of xenophobic violence.

Violence erupted at the church on Sunday following a disagreement between rival factions on whether a Sunday service should be conducted.

At least 60 voices raised against the self-styled leader of the refugee group JP Balous.

Pandemonium broke out when the group split in two and started hurling accusations at one another on Sunday night.

One leader, Papy Sukami accuses Balous of having his own interests at heart, not caring the rest of the refugees.

“After praying, we called the people out. We told him that he’s abusing his power. We told him that heeds to respect others. He has separated the Burundians and Congolese.”

Balous, on the other hand, said Sakumi and other foreign nationals are involved with illegal activities at the church premises.

“I gave the rules that would stop crime. When I stood up against that, they made me the bad person. They’re giving Papy money.”

On Sunday night, police had to be called to defuse the situation in the Methodist Mission. They will remain stationed outside the church to keep an eye on things.