3,900 held in S. Africa crackdown

Updated 18 May 2015
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3,900 held in S. Africa crackdown

PRETORIA: More than 3,900 people — including 1,650 illegal immigrants — have been arrested in South Africa during a controversial police crackdown after April’s deadly xenophobic violence, authorities said.
“We are satisfied that we have stabilized the situation and further loss of life has been prevented,” a government statement said.
“Security agencies continue to work around the clock to protect both foreign nationals and South African citizens against any attacks.”
The crackdown came after at least seven people were killed as mobs hunted down migrant workers from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other African countries, forcing hundreds of terrified families to abandon their homes. Rampant unemployment and poverty are seen as an underlying cause of the violence by South Africans who accused migrants of stealing their jobs.
The arrests of illegal immigrants has prompted charges that the government was fanning xenophobic sentiment, though authorities categorically denied that the operation targeted foreigners.
Some 2,260 South Africans have been arrested on a variety of charges since the operation began.
“We will, in the next weeks and months, accelerate our efforts to take back public buildings that have been hijacked, either by foreign nationals or by South Africans; rid our townships and villages of drugs... that are destroying the lives of many young people,” the government statement added. South African authorities are also going to continue with expulsions of foreigners. More than 400 Mozambicans were expelled Friday and 427 others in South Africa illegally are slated to be kicked out in the coming days.


16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

Updated 26 June 2019
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16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

  • The accident occurred outside Mahamasina Stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark National Day

ANTANANARIVO: At least 16 people were crushed to death and dozens injured in Madagascar on Wednesday at a stadium hosting national independence day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo.
The bodies of sixteen victims, including three children, were stored at the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city, AFP journalists said.
Hospital director Oliva Alison Rakoto had earlier reported 15 dead and 80 wounded.
According to witnesses at the hospital, the accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday.
At the end of a military parade, security forces opened the gates to allow spectators to leave the enclosure, causing the crowd to mass outside the stadium, witnesses said.
The police then immediately closed the gates and blocked the crowd, witnesses said, causing a deadly pile up.
“When the organizers opened the gate, we were in the front row, in the queue,” said Jean Claude Etienne Rakotoarimanana, 29, who suffered bruises from the crush.
“Suddenly people ran to get in front of us. They shoved us, some even punched us and pulled us,” he added, saying he then fainted.
In September 2018, a deadly crush killed one person and injured 30 people in similar circumstances at the entrance of the same stadium during a football match between Madagascar and Senegal.