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South African Authorities Admit Difficulty Quelling Xenophobic Attacks


Attacks against foreigners continued on Tuesday in many parts of Johannesburg, South Africa, with skirmishes reported in the central business district, while the official death toll since xenophobic riots flared on Sunday mounted to at least 23.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad moved to disassociate the government from the violence during a news conference in Pretoria.

Thousands of foreigners including Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Somalis and others have been driven from their homes and huddled for safety at police stations.

Johannesburg correspondent Benedict Nhlapo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe told reporter Patience Rusere that dozens of traumatized Zimbabweans were seen boarding buses for home at Johannesburg's Park Station.

A spokeswoman for the South African Home Affairs Department said police had not yet established full control of the situation in South Africa's largest city.

Public affairs officer Siobhan Maccarthy said the police have bolstered their forces and were investigating the origins of the three-day killing spree.

Refugee Ministries Center Operations Manager Stella Mkiliwane said many of those who have been affected by the violence are Zimbabweans, but unlike other nationals have not been receiving help from their own government to her knowledge.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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