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OFWs in South Africa warned of rising violence against migrants

01:51 PM April 22, 2015

Filipinos in South Africa have been told to take precautionary measures amid a surge of violence against foreigners.

“The Philippines condemns the wave of violence aimed at foreign workers and joins the South African government and the international community in denouncing the aggression directed against foreigners during these three weeks of unrest, which has resulted in loss of lives and has divided communities,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Wednesday.

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“The South African government and the international community must rise to the challenge and work harder to eliminate such senseless and brutal violence in multicultural and multi-ethnic communities,” it said.

DFA has raised crisis Alert Level 1 in the country which has a history of racial violence during the apartheid era.

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“Alert Level 1 is raised when there are valid signs of internal disturbance, instability, or external threat to the host country,” the DFA statement said.

International news agencies report that the military has been called in to keep the peace following several killings over the past few weeks.

Difficult economic times have been cited as the cause of the violence against migrants.

Last month, Goodwill Zwelithini, the king of South Africa’s largest ethnic group the Zulus reportedly said: “We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and go back to their countries.”

There is an estimated 3,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in South Africa, according the December 2012 figures from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).

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