POLICE TRUCKS ARRIVE FOR REFUGEES

ANC Daily News Briefing/Sapa, 28 July 2008

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Six police armoured trucks arrived at the R28 roadside refugees camp outside Randfontein on Monday afternoon, with police ordering women and children to line up. They had been given until Monday to move from the area, where they have been living since being taken to the Home Affairs' Lindela centre, which detains and deports people found to be in the country illegally. People began picking up their belongings, or stood around watching. NGOs and the media were ordered through a loudhailer to move across the road and police on the scene did not want to speak to the media. It was not immediately clear where the refugees would be moved to. The foreigners were moved to the Home Affairs' Lindela facility on the West Rand last week for their documents to be verified, after they declined an offer to register at a camp in Glenanda accommodating people displaced by the xenophobic violence of May. Once their documents were verified they were told they were free to go and the Department of Home Affairs and the Gauteng Provincial Government said they were not their responsibility. The local authority wanted them to move on the grounds that they were violating bylaws by living on the side of the road. The refugees have said they were afraid to return to the communities they fled from during the violence. Earlier the UN High Commission for Refugees was registering the asylum seekers and refugees camping there for voluntary repatriation to their home countries. Foreigners, mainly from Africa's Great Lakes region, have said they had opted to return home. The R28 between Randfontein and Krugersdorp was closed to incoming and outgoing traffic.