Sapa, 23 May 2008

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Another five foreigners were injured after being assaulted on Friday in Durban's Quarry Heights area, police said. Spokesperson Director Phindile Radebe said Greenwood Park police were investigating the assault and were working "on positive information". Radebe was unable to elaborate on the extent of injuries or the weapons used in the assault. Earlier, KwaZulu-Natal Safety and Security MEC Bheki Cele said ten people had been arrested for attacks on foreigners in the province. He was speaking to Sapa as details of several overnight attacks on foreigners in Durban were reported to police. He said he was concerned that criminals were using xenophobia as an excuse to commit crime. "I am just concerned that criminals are using xenophobia as an excuse to commit crimes ... why else would they steal the foreigners' belongings? "If you want someone to leave, you just tell them and then watch them leave ... why does one have to chase them and steal their goods?" he asked. He said he had spoken to some foreigners and was told "astounding things". "I was told that those attacking foreigners had a list of all the foreigners and details of where they stayed. This is because some foreigners were being harassed since 1992 and their attackers live nearby," he said. In other incidents, two homes allegedly belonging to foreigners were burnt down in Durban's Kenville area on Thursday and Friday. Radebe said she had information on one case only where a home "allegedly belonging to foreigners" was torched but that no injuries were reported. eThekwini Fire department Divisional commander Bruce de Gier, however, told Sapa that firemen had responded to two homes on fire within a 24 hour space. One house on Kenville Road had been torched at 1am on Friday. "This was ironic because a day before, the house right next door on the same road was also torched," he said. It is alleged that both homes belonged to Malawians. Two cases of arson are being investigated. Cele, meanwhile, said police were aware of who the arsonist was. "He is a KwaMashu taxi conductor who has left his job. We are hunting for him right now and we know he was the one who torched the homes in Kenville ... and these were homes of foreigners," Cele said. The MEC told Sapa there was a separate incident at the Kenville informal settlement on Thursday night were a shack was burnt down. "Two foreigners were injured in that incident as well." Meanwhile, a 23-year old Malawian man was shot as hundreds of foreigners gathered at Durban's Cato Manor police station on Thursday night. Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said the man had been shot twice in the abdomen. He was in a serious but stable condition at a local hospital. The man was the second Malawian to be shot in Durban in as many days. A Malawian was taken to hospital on Wednesday night after he was shot twice in the chest in the same area. At the Cato Manor police station about three hundred foreigners - mostly Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and Malawians - had gathered out of fear of possible attacks. In Chatsworth, dozens of foreigners sought shelter at a local community hall also for fear of becoming a victims of xenophobia. Earlier in the week. scores of foreigners living in the Umbilo area packed their bags and were seen leaving the area. Meanwhile, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Friday said he would be visiting foreigners at the Cato Manor Community Hall at 2pm and would proceed to the Chatsworth police station and then the Dalton Hostel in Umbilo.