For the past 3 weeks, hundreds of African refugees have been camping outside the UNHCR offices in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, pleading to be taken out of South Africa, this is contained in series of tweets by local media JacarandaFM.
The group numbering about 200, say they have been targets of xenophobia attacks since 2008.
One of them identified by JacarandaFM as Alex Nkoy said the group is composed of citizens of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Rwanda and Ivory Coast.
Mr Nkoy said they were not receiving any protection from the police or the government.
He said that some of them had stopped taking their children to school because they were being bullied because they don’t speak local languages.
“We are seeking and ask protection from UNHCR… South Africa is no longer a safe place for us as refugees, it is no longer home… South Africa has become hell for us as refugees…that is why we are asking UNHCR to take us out of South Africa to throw us anywhere in the world so we can feel safe.”
He says the UN Refugee Agency has promised to engage with the South African government to provide shelter for them. However, they are afraid that going back to settle anywhere inside South Africa will be a death sentence because of the xenophobic attacks.
As the stress grows, Alex Mongo Nkoy, also says the UN Refugee Agency in Pretoria has threatened to use force to remove them from their offices. He adds, “if the police come to attack us here, we are ready to die right here because we don’t have anywhere to go – this is our last bus stop.”