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Zimbabwean Squatters In South African Township Attacked, 100 Homes Burned

Zimbabwean squatters living in Mooiplaas, South Africa, a township outside Pretoria, came under attack with about 100 of their shanty homes burned by a mob of local residents who accused the Zimbabweans of being behind armed robberies in the area, the staff of a Zimbabwean civic organization in the country said.

Staff of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum said one Zimbabwean man was badly beaten in the riot before the crowd was dispersed by South African police officers.

The rampage followed an incident in which local residents confronted Zimbabweans in the informal settlement, accusing them committing armed robberies.

Five shacks were burned down in that episode, then a large crowd of South African residents of Moooiplaas returned on Monday night and burned more shacks - though another account of events said the Zimbabweans launched a revenge attack.

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum project lawyer Annah Moyo told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that further beatings of the Zimbabwean squatters were prevented only by the timely intervention of the South African police.

A report on the Web site of the Pretoria News quoted a local police spokesman as saying that the situation in the informal settlement was calm late Tuesday.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...