Friday, April 22, 2016

Xenophobia in Zambia

Violence erupted earlier this month in slum areas of the capital after foreigners, especially Rwandans, were blamed for the recent murders of at least seven people, whose body parts such as ears, hearts and penises had been removed. Locals argued that these were ritual murders committed by foreigners to secure body parts used for good luck charms.

As a result, hundreds of Lusaka residents stoned houses and shops owned by foreign nationals, with hundreds of foreigners seeking refuge at police stations and churches as looters took food, drinks, refrigerators and other electrical appliances. Two people were burned to death in those anti-immigration riots in the country's capital, Lusaka. The two dead had been identified as Zambians who died "in the confusion" as riots tore through the shantytowns.  According to the police, more than 60 foreign-owned shops have been looted or destroyed in Lusaka in the past week and there were calls to "rid the country of all immigrants"

Zambia's government is trying to send hundreds of refugees back to camps. Refugees who built lives in residential neighbourhoods were not willing to return to camps even though they were facing imminent threats.

"People here say they don't want to return to refugee camps because there is no way to make a living and conditions are poor," Al Jazeera's reporter, Fahmida Miller, said

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