Trains fill up with refugees

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Throngs of Mozambicans continue to leave South Africa for their home country. More than 1600 boarded the 6.10pm train to Maputo at Johannesburg's Park Station yesterday.

But thousands are still stranded at make-shift refugee camps. Mozambican officials said yesterday they were trying to convince those that remained at the camps to go home.

But many people chose to stay because they believed the situation would calm down, they said. An official, who identified himself as Soto, said more than 23000 Mozambicans had returned home since the xenophobic attacks started two weeks ago.

"We are hoping to bring back more people. Our government has provided transport for anybody who wishes to return.

"We pick them up at the refugee centre and take them to Park Station to wait for the train home. When they reach Mozambique we register every person. That way we know how many people have returned," he said.

The Mozambican government was the first to offer its people transport back home.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pleaded with his fellow citizens to come home, offering to provide transport.