Thousands Displaced After Deadly Anti-Immigrant Violence In South Africa

 |  By LYNSEY CHUTEL

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — More than 2,000 foreigners have sought shelter in refugee camps in the coastal city of Durban after deadly attacks on immigrants, a South African aid group said on Wednesday.

The refugee camps, set up on sports fields around Durban, will not be large enough if attacks on immigrants continue, said Imtiaz Sooliman, of the Gift of the Givers organization. Those who can afford it are planning to leave the country, he said.

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A foreign national holds a knife following clashes between a group of locals and police in Durban on April 14, 2015. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

“They’ve lost their houses, they’ve lost their businesses, they’ve lost everything,” said Sooliman.

Five people have been killed and 74 people arrested since attacks against immigrants began at the end of March, said police spokesman Col. Jay Naicker in a statement.

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Foreign nationals walk in front of a tent as they have taken shelter to the Chatsworth sports grounds, south of Durban on April 15, 2015. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

South African newspapers carried photos of foreigners armed with knives and machetes to protect themselves. The Star newspaper said Nigerian shop owners barricaded themselves behind burning tires as South Africans looted storefronts.

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Immigrant men armed with machetes following clashes in Durban, South Africa, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Tebogo Letsie)

In Johannesburg, where looters ransacked foreign-owned shops earlier this year, immigrants shut their shops to avoid possible violence.

In Malawi, officials have set up transit camps expected to house Malawians returning to the country, said Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa.

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Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on April 14 ,2015. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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