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Xenophobic Attacks In South Africa Taper Off, Leaving Humanitarian Crisis


Deadly mob violence against Zimbabwean and other immigrants living in South Africa tapered off on Wednesday as the government revised its official death count from such attacks to 42 from 22 where it had stood for two days.

Humanitarian organizations said their capacities have been overstretched by the estimated 16,000 people displaced by the attacks and seeking refuge in police stations, churches and public halls.

But violence was reported to have spread to Durban and other areas.

South African President Thabo Mbeki ordered the deployment of army troops to help end the attacks that have plagued parts of the country for more than a week.

Mr. Mbeki's office issued a statement saying the president approved a request by the South African Police Service to bring in the South African Defense Force to stop the ongoing attacks in Gauteng province around Johannesburg.

Attackers are accusing the immigrants of taking jobs and increasing South Africa's already-high crime rate.

Correspondent Benedict Nhlapho of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported on the aftermath of the worst attacks from Sunday through Tuesday.

Zimbabwean Sikhumbuzo Ncube, whose home in Alexandra, Johannesburg, was attacked Sunday by armed men, told reporter Patience Rusere that in spite of that incident he will not go home to Zimbabwe because things there are just as bad.

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