JOHANNESBURG — 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.
“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.
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.
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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