Up to 20 Rwandans living in Zambia have approached the Rwandan High Commission in Lusaka for protection after reports suggested they are targets of xenophobic attacks.
According to the Abel Buhungu, the Charge d’Affaires at the High Commission of Rwanda in Zambia, over the last one month, there have been reports of people being killed, but there is no confirmation that any of them is Rwandan.
“Since yesterday (Monday), we have heard of two deaths but so far there is no tangible evidence that any is Rwandan,” Buhungu said.
He added: “We have, so far, 20 Rwandans taking refuge at the High Commission premises.”
According to media reports, the attacks on Rwandans started after rumours linked a Rwandan to ritual murders.
“There have been about eight killings since mid March. Rumours that sparked targeting of Rwandans. They allege a Rwandan had been involved in these ritual murders but Police leadership had indicated it is a rumour that isn’t confirmed at all, thus no justification,” Buhungu told The New Times.
The attacks also targeted foreign owned shops in the capital Lusaka, but later spread out to other parts of the country where more shops were targeted.
The attacks started Monday morning in two sprawling shanty compounds over rumors that foreigners were behind a spate of suspected ritual killings that have occurred in recent weeks.
Zambia Police Spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda earlier confirmed the looting of the shops to media.
Suspected ritual killings have reportedly rocked the Zambian capital in recent weeks.
Victims were found with their ears, genitals and hearts removed. On Sunday, Zambian President Edgar Lungu said four people had been arrested in connection with the brutal ritual killings.