Fri Oct 21 23:54:55 SAST 2016

Mbeki sends in the troops

By unknown | May 22, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Getrude Makhafola and Sapa

Getrude Makhafola and Sapa

President Thabo Mbeki has given the nod for the military to help the police curb the xenophobic violence that had claimed at least 42 lives by yesterday.

Police reported that attacks on foreigners, which erupted in Gauteng last week, had spread to other provinces.

"President Thabo Mbeki has approved a request from the South African Police Service for the involvement of the SA National Defence Force in stopping ongoing attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng," a statement from the president's office said.

Police spokesman Director Sally de Beer said they had asked for equipment and personnel.

The decision comes as hundreds of Mozambican nationals in Primrose, near Germiston, Ekurhuleni, lined up yesterday to board buses that would ferry them home.

They had been living in tents opposite the Primrose police station after days of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng.

Yesterday the Mozambican embassy organised 10 buses for those in and around Ekurhuleni who wanted to return home.

Alpheus Shikomole, his wife Artimise and their twin children also boarded one of the buses.

"I thank God that my family is safe and we are going home, but I will be back to earn a living once the situation is calm," Shikomole said.

"My wife managed to grab the twins' clothes and run off to the police station."

Shikomele said his shack at Makausi informal settlement was ransacked at the weekend.

Veronica Simone, a mother of four, who was thankful to her government for providing transport back to her country, said she would never come back to South Africa.

Jorge Menezes, an official from the embassy, said: "Our office was overwhelmed by people who said they no longer felt safe and wanted to return home."

Relief organisations such as the Doctors Without Borders and Gift of Givers provided medical assistance, food and clothing to the foreigners.


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