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Rwandans return to their homes after xenophobic attacks in Lusaka

Rwandans return to their homes after xenophobic attacks in Lusaka


Rwandan nationals who fled xenophobic attacks in the Zambian capital, Lusaka have started returning to their homes in the capital.

Scores of them were holding up at a shelter outside the city.

Two people were burned to death earlier this week in a wave of violence which targeted mostly Rwandans who were alleged to be involved in ritual killings.

The violence was spurred by rumours that Rwandans were behind ritual killings in the city after the parts of about seven decapitated corpses were found.

Shops operated by Rwandans as well as their houses were looted forcing many of the east Africans to seek protection at police stations.

Zambia’s president, Edgar Lungu who visited the refugees earlier in the week apologised for the violence saying he was “ashamed and accepted responsiblity” but also assured that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

He has also called on the Rwandans to return to their homes in Lusaka since their “security was guaranteed”.

Charles Lubyayi, one of the Rwandans sheltering at a Catholic church hosting the refugees, said “it’s been a dreadful moment for everyone here and all of us as a refugee community in Zambia.”

The UNHCR representative in Zambia, Laura Lo Castro, however said Rwandans were not the only foreigners affected by the violence.

“The attack was, as far as I understand, against all foreigners. So in fact the people who came asking for protection by UNHCR doors as well as the doors of the office of the Commissioner for Refugees were mainly Congolese. So everybody is talking about the Rwandan population but in reality everybody has been a victim.”

The police on Tuesday arrested 11 people for their roles in the alleged ritual murders and at least 256 others for rioting.