The Zimbabwean government said Friday it would repatriate its citizens caught up in the xenophobic attacks sweeping across South Africa.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its High Commission in South Africa was gathering information on affected Zimbabweans, with a view to facilitating their return home.
Thousands of foreigners, mainly from Southern Africa, have been displaced from their homes in South Africa by local gangs carrying out xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, accusing them of taking up jobs and housing, and causing price hikes for food and services.
“The staff (of Zimbabwe embassy and consulate) in these missions have visited the affected areas and met Zimbabweans who are under the protection of the South African government in police stations and community centres,” the ministry said.
“They are also working closely with the relevant authorities to assist those in need and to facilitate those who wish to return home. The same applies to the repatriation of the remains of those who may have died,” it added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had also engaged the International Organ isation for Migration to assist Zimbabweans caught up in the violence, which has so far claimed 42 lives and displaced almost 15 000 others.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans live and work in South Africa, and some reports suggest they were the main targets of the xenophobic attacks. Panapress.