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Thu Oct 23 06:35:11 SAST 2014

Xenophobia rears head in Free State: SA Red Cross

Sapa | 11 July, 2012 15:46

Over 500 foreign nationals have been displaced in xenophobic attacks in Botshabelo in the Free State, the SA Red Cross Society (Sarcs) says.

"It all started when unregistered street vendors were removed in Botshabelo town at a place called Fairways on July 3," the society said in a statement.

The same night, angry residents broke into businesses of Somalians, Chinese and Ethopians. They took goods and money from the shops, and some houses belonging to foreign nationals were burnt down.

The Red Cross said it was currently supporting 584 displaced foreigners at the community hall, providing food, blankets and other aid.

"Sarcs is pleading with the public, businesses and corporates to assist with clothes, school uniforms, toiletries and food to help the victims."

Police confirmed the attacks, but said the situation in Botshabelo was calm on Wednesday.

Claudia Mangwegape of the Red Cross in the Free State said a meeting was held on Wednesday between locals, foreign nationals and community organisations in a bid to end the conflict.

The outcome was expected later in the afternoon.

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