Durban – Despite being attacked, having their shops looted and being left stranded, foreign nationals were on Tuesday adamant that they would not be forced out of the city of Durban.
Some of those affected by the growing xenophobic violence sweeping through several areas of Durban vowed to resort to guerrilla warfare to defend themselves.
“We will defend ourselves.We will retaliate in full force,” irate shop owner Richard Condonso told the African News Agency.
Tensions remained high in central Durban on Tuesday night as the violence spilled over into neighboring areas, with locals and foreigners at each other’s throats.
The streets were strewn with rubbish – evidence of shops being looted.
Despite, police reinforcements from around the country being deployed as the tensions mounted, foreign nationals felt officers had disappointed them by not offering enough protection against their attackers.
“We are under attack, people are coming from everywhere. Cops are sitting back and let it go on. Maybe they are tired of us. I suspect they also attack us when not in uniform,” said Condonso.
The foreign nationals claim about 15 people have lost their lives during the attacks. They claim five children were burnt to death in Isiphingo, south of Durban, while in another attack in KwaMashu, north of Durban, a group of foreigners were locked inside a house and burnt to death.
The foreigners ANA spoke to felt Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithin’s utterances in March during a moral regeneration event in Pongolo were to blame for the violent attacks on them.
“We are requesting those who come from outside to please go back to their countries,” Zwelithini reportedly said.
“The fact that there were countries that played a role in the country’s struggle for liberation should not be used as an excuse to create a situation where foreigners are allowed to inconvenience locals. I know you were in their countries during the struggle for liberation. But the fact of the matter is you did not set up businesses in their countries,” Zwelethini told residents of Pongolo.
Patrick Abdul, one of the foreigners affected by the xenophobic uprising, told ANA: “The King should bring peace not war. We want the United Nations to help us.”
Earlier on Tuesday, some areas of Durban resembled a war zone as police tried to quell the violence.
The city was plunged into chaos when some taxis were caught in the crossfire with windows being smashed as some foreign nationals hiding in a block of flats (Abyssin Accommodation) in West Street threw stones and rocks at locals.
Police had their hands full trying to calm down the angry mob of locals gathered at the apartment block.
The streets were littered with glass.
Police had to use teargas to separate the warring groups.
A local, who refused to be named, said the foreign nationals deserved what was happening to them.
“We are tired of them. They are criminals. They do house break-ins. Ever since they came into the country, the crime rate has escalated”.
Shops in central Durban were closed on Tuesday while the knobkierrie-wielding mob of locals assaulted foreign nationals and looted their shops in Durban.
Metro police rushed around to make sure shops were properly closed as some foreigners fled without closing them properly.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Jay Naicker declined to comment.