Govt says recent attacks on foreigners were not xenophobic

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Home Affairs Permanent Secretary (PS), Mulenga Chileshe, has clarified that Zambia did not experience xenophobia.

Dr Chileshe says it is wrong for journalists in Zambia to say there were xenophobia attacks in Zambia.

He said criminals only took advantage to steal private properties as members of the public also joined in looting goods and merchandises in homes and shops.

Dr Chileshe said what South Africa experienced some time back should not be connected to the proceedings here in Zambia.

The PS was speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka today.

“Zambia did not experience xenophobia. Criminals only took advantage to steal private properties as members of the public also joined in looting goods and merchandises in homes and shops,” Dr Chilenshe said.

This was shortly after Home Affairs Minister, Davies Mwila, officially opened the 2nd Intra-Regional Forum on Immigration in Africa.

He regretted that journalists were ‘twisting’ facts instead of reporting the truth in information the people.

He is however, happy that police prosecuted more than 250 criminals and that no foreigner was nabbed.
At least 62 Rwandan-owned shops were looted in the riots in the recent riots that were experienced in some parts of Lusaka recently.
The riots started in two areas following rumours that Rwandans were behind ritual killings in Lusaka.

At least seven people have been murdered in recent weeks and their body parts removed.
Many Zambians wrongly describe it as the worst xenophobic violence in the country.
Rumours went viral on social media alleging that the body parts comprising the eyes and sexual organs were being used as charms to ensure success in business.

Meanwhile, the PS has disclosed that Prohibited Immigrants (PIs) once arrested in Zambia would no longer be sent to prison but instead fined.
Dr Chileshe said the new constitution provides that PIs would only pay a fine in court as substitution for a jail sentence.
He further disclosed that there are 50,000 auto-regular immigrants in the country.
In the past, PIs served jail sentences but the scenario changed early January, this year, when President Edgar Lungu appended his signature to the supreme document of the land, the Constitution.

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