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‘Fake news’ said to be responsible for recent attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa

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South Africa has blamed “fake news and acts of criminality” for fuelling the xenophobic attacks on Malawians and other foreign nationals in Durban last week.

Over 200 Malawians were displaced from their homes during the attacks, while more than 100 of them have decided to leave the country for Malawi in buses organised by Malawi diplomacy and the UN International Immigration Organisation, according to press reports.

The first group of the Malawi-bound escapees were expected to arrive home on Wednesday, 3 April 2019, according to radio reports monitored from Malawi.

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The South African government said on Wednesday that the attacks on the Malawians and other foreign nationals should be strongly condemned by all peace loving South Africans.

“This is certainly not how we should be viewed as a country, as these incidents are criminal in nature and have been hijacked by people who fuelled the tensions through fake news on social media,” South Africa’s Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said in a statement.

According to the GCIS, the country’s Justice Crime Prevention and Security cluster was working around the clock to address the issue of attacks on the foreign nationals.

“To this end, three people have been arrested for their part in the criminal incidents and law enforcement agencies remain steadfast in bringing the perpetrators responsible for these crimes to book,” the GCIS said.

It added, “While government is concerned about the reported incidents of alleged attacks on foreign nationals, we would like to caution South Africans not to be duped into believe everything they read or see on social media that is purported to be about attacks on foreign nationals.”

– APA

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