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Lusaka Burning: 250 Arrested Over Zambia Xenophobic Attacks

Lusaka - Mayhem and uncertainty continues to reign supreme as more than 250 locals have been arrested in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, in a...

Lusaka - Mayhem and uncertainty continues to reign supreme as more than 250 locals have been arrested in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, in a desperate bid to curb xenophobic violence which has engulfed the city, police reveal. 

So far, at least 62 Rwandan-owned shops have been looted in the riots which have spread to nine residential neighbourhoods, police added. Many Zambians describe it as the worst xenophobic violence in the country.

Zingalume, George compound and Lilanda were all affected by sporadic violence.

The protestors later stormed Kasungula road near Mandevu compound and started looting shops belonging to Rwandese nationals. Riots started in two areas on Monday following rumours that Rwandans and other nationals were behind ritual killings in Lusaka.
Zambia is Burning 

According to reports, at least seven people have been murdered in recent weeks and their body parts removed for suspected rituals to ensure a boom in business. Riot police have been deployed to quell the unrest, and many Rwandans have fled to police stations to take shelter.

The riots have shocked many Zambians who say they cannot recall such hostility towards foreigners in the country, she adds. The unrest is said to have been fuelled by high unemployment among other social ills. Foreign shops have not been spared as they were broken into and looted

Rwandans are the largest group of immigrants in Zambia, owning shops in the densely populated areas which have been affected by the riots. They number about 6,000, and many of them came to Zambia as refugees fleeing the 1994 genocide in their home country.

Zimbabwean nationals resident in Zambia have equated the current attacks to South Africa's xenophobic attacks that claimed many lives since they were launched in 2008.

The attacks are a replica of recurrent attacks that occur in South Africa mainly due to influx of foreigners seeking a better life. South Africa has arguably the highest number of foreign contingent on the continent and relations are always simmering.

Speaking after visiting some of the riot-hit areas, Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila said 11 people had been detained on suspicion of being involved in ritual killings. The riots were triggered by the "false" rumour that police had released a 'suspected foreign ritual killer', Mr Mwila said, in an earlier statement.
Zambians Want Foreigners Out of their Country 

"The anti-social and criminal conduct seen in the high density areas north and west of the city of Lusaka must come to an immediate end," he added.

Riot instigators claim that President Edgar Lungu has failed to act on the spate of killings in their area which has seen seven people killed in what is suspected to be ritual murders. They say the leader is weak and are seeking the government to flush out foreigners.

Police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja told the media that he had deployed over 200 paramilitary officers to quell the riots. - Sources 

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