"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Malawi starts evacuation of citizens from South Africa

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Malawi said on Friday it had started to
evacuate from South Africa more than 850 of its citizens threatened by
xenophobic attacks.

At least 42 people have been killed in South Africa and more than
25,000 driven from their homes in 12 days of violence by mobs accusing
migrants from other parts of Africa of taking jobs and fuelling crime.

"More than 850 Malawians have been affected by the current violence.
All Malawians willing to return home will be evacuated and we have
started the process," Ben Mbewe, foreign affairs principal secretary,
said in a statement.

Mbewe said a task force had been set up to coordinate the evacuation and the first group would be home this weekend.

Malawi's Foreign Minister Joyce Banda flew on Sunday to South Africa to be briefed by embassy officials on the situation.

Malawi has no figures for exactly how many of its nationals work in
South Africa, but there has been an increase in recent years of
Malawians travelling there to look for work on construction sites of
stadiums for the 2010 World Cup.

The Daily Times, one of Malawi's leading papers, on Friday described the ordeals of some Malawians in the attacks.

"I have only managed to bring home my kids, and I have lost all
property, as I am talking to you my house has been razed to the
ground," said Jacqueline, among scores of people who managed to get on
a bus to Malawi.

A bandaged William Maluwa accused South African police of failing to help victims.
"We were being beaten in full view of police and when we asked police
for assistance they would ask for money first," said Maluwa.

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