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Xenophobic Attacks Continue as Fleeing Zimbabweans Arrive Home

FILE: A peace march against xenophobia takes place in Durban, South Africa, April 16, 2015.

As xenophobic attacks against foreigners continue in South Africa Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has deployed the army in the Johannesburg township of Alexandria to try and quell the disturbances that have claimed the lives of about six people.

According to press reports, Nqakula said a Zimbabwean couple was shot last night in Alexandria. Earlier reports indicated that the two were dead but the minister said they were recovering in hospital.

This comes at a time when the first batch of Zimbabweans ferried by the government from the troubled country arrived by bus on Monday.

Minister of State for Matabeleland South, Abednico Ncube, who welcomed the arriving Zimbabweans fleeing South Africa at the Beitbridge border post, told the Herald newspaper that government provided three buses while unnamed sources had offered a similar number.

The violence flared up again Tuesday in the port city of Durban despite an impassioned plea by Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, to stop the attacks. The king was accused of fanning the violence but he strongly denies that he urged South Africans to drive foreigners out of the country.

Independent commentator, Dinizulu Macaphulana, told VOA Studio seven that there appears to be a hidden hand behind the xenophobic attacks.

Meanwhile, foreigners in South Africa have come up with a coalition that is designed to articulate their problems. The coalition is expected to be launched tomorrow in Johannesburg.

Studio 7 also spoke to one of the initiators, Salman Khan, a Pakistani national, who says the grouping will work as a union that will accommodate people from all countries.

Opposition movement for democratic change leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called on African leaders to convene a summit and discuss the xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Tsvangirai said he is disturbed by the violence in South Africa.

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Returning young people fleeing xenophobic attacks may face serious challenges when they get back home due to the current harsh economic environment in Zimbabwe.

But some youth organizations say they are prepared to help them.

Glanis Changachirere, co-ordinator of the Institute for Young Women Development, said they are ready for the big task.

Some Zimbabweans living in exile in various countries are optimistic that one day they will go back home when the socio-economic and political situation improves.

The Zimbabweans, who left the country for different reasons including insecurity and political fears, say indications are that it may take long for them to go back home.

One of the exiled Zimbabweans is former Matabeleland South Provincial Administrator Angelous Dube, who told Studio 7 that a lot went wrong soon after independence in 1980.

Zimbabwe commemorated its 35th independence anniversary Saturday.