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Second refugee leader arrested as CT authorities to meet over reintegration

A rift about who the group’s leader should be drove a wedge between foreigners seeking refuge at the church last week.

FILE: 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 - Another refugee leader at the Cape Town Methodist Mission Church has been arrested.

It’s reported that the leader of a splinter group of refugees staying at the church was detained on robbery charges this past weekend.

Another leader was initially arrested after the police were called when fighting broke about among members.

Police said that a 41-year-old man had been detained and was set to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Monday.

It’s understood the man was among a group of foreign nationals calling for their leader, JP Balous, to step down from his position.

Balous was also arrested last week and faces eight counts of assault.

He made a brief appearance in the Cape Town Magistrates Court last week and is set to apply for bail on his next appearance on Friday.

Meanwhile, authorities will this week meet to come up with a plan that will better serve the refugees living at Cape Town’s Methodist Mission Church.

A rift about who the group’s leader should be drove a wedge between foreigners seeking refuge at the church last week.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Home Affairs Department and City of Cape Town officials are set to meet to discuss ways of integrating the refugees.

Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen said that the roleplayers would look at issues raised by the refugees over the last couple of months.

"The United Nations Commission on Refugees will also be present to help with the reintegration into the communities. They have certain programmes that they run and then, of course, we are looking at the possibility of just having a holding area or temporary accommodation where verification can take place."

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