Sâ€™African police arrest 10,000 suspects over anti-foreigner violence
Police in South Africa have arrested 9,968 suspects in an anti-crime operation launched early April following a wave of xenophobic violence, an official said Monday.
Among the suspects, 1,123 were arrested for illegal stay in the country while others were accused of crimes such as illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, murder and drug trafficking, acting cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams told a press briefing in Pretoria.
The government says the operation is intended to â€œrid the country of criminal elementsâ€, while opponents criticize it as targeting migrants â€” what they call a new form of xenophobia in disguise.
Williams argued the operation continues to adhere to the immigration laws.
Police have screened 6,781 individuals awaiting deportation from April to July. Of them, 1,694 are linked to crimes, she revealed.
For those linked to criminal activities, their deportation process will be suspended pending their appearances in court.
â€œIf found guilty, they will serve out their sentences and be deported to their home countries immediately upon release,â€ Williams said.
She also announced the work to move foreign nationals displaced during the xenophobic violence in April back to their communities has been completed.
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