South African authorities have arrested around 100 foreigners during an operation to evict refugees and asylum seekers from a UN building in Cape Town.
The police, who used water cannon, were carrying out a court order to remove about 300 people who had occupied the building for the past three weeks in a grievance over a wave of deadly xenophobic attacks.They said they were executing a court order released on October 18 after a landlord applied to evict the 300 or so people who had been camping in the downtown arcade in a protest.
The police statement said, earlier efforts by the U.N. refugee agency and others to resolve the situation amicably “yielded no positive result.”e refugee and asylum seekers, mostly from other African countries, demanded that the UN repatriate them or send them to a third country.
Some refugees and asylum-seekers had told local media they wanted to be relocated outside the country after a wave of deadly attacks on foreigners in South African cities earlier this year. Such attacks have erupted several times over the years in sub-Saharan Africa’s most developed economy.
The U.N. refugee agency didn’t immediately respond to questions about the police operation. Last week, it issued a statement saying “false messages” were being circulated about resettlement and evacuation, adding that only a very small number of refugees meet the criteria for resettlement and that no planes or buses were on the way to help in evacuations.
It also warned of fraudulent requests for fees for resettlement and repeated its services are free.
South Africa, as the continent’s most developed economy, is a magnet to migrants and host a large number of foreigners seeking jobs. (Source: BBC World Service)