Xenophobic attacks in South Africa spread late Thursday to Cape Town where mobs attacked businesses and homes owned by Zimbabweans and Somalis. Press reports said about 500 people fled a squatter camp to escape the attacks.
There were also reports of new attacks in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West provinces. But the official death toll remained at 42 while the number of displaced has been estimated to be as high as 50,000.
South Africa has about five million immigrants, and an estimated three million of them have come from Zimbabwe to escape political repression and economic crisis.
Malawi said Friday that it will evacuate any of its nationals in South Africa who want to come home. Mozambique declared a state of emergency so it can better cope with the 10-thousand Mozambicans who have fled across the border in recent days.
The United Nations refugee agency asked South Africa not to deport Zimbabweans seeking asylum, saying the crisis in their country prevents them from going back.
Johannesburg correspondent Benedict Nhlapo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe told reporter Patience Rusere that the South African government has not yet deployed soldiers as the office of President Thabo Mbeki said it would do.
Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo said Zimbabweans are not the only ones affected by the violence as he said the media has suggested.
He said Zimbabwean officials have compiled the names of 700 nationals who want to be repatriated and the first buses will head north this weekend.