South Africa removes migrants squatting in Cape Town

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Hundreds of foreign migrants have been removed from central Cape Town by South African authorities following a months-long stand-off.

The migrants, who were moved in an operation, demanded to be relocated to other countries, claiming they had been threatened by xenophobic violence last year. But the group lost their court bid to compel the government to fly them to what they said would be safer countries, including the United States (US) and Canada.

The foreigners camped outside a church at Cape Town’s Green Market Square. South African authorities said they will verify their identities and will process those seeking asylum.

The Nigerian government last year evacuated about 600 of its citizens from South Africa following violent demonstrations against foreigners.

The removal of the foreigners was largely a calm operation, with the authorities getting little resistance from the migrants, except for some heckling and chanting.

A woman and a boy move their belongings in Cape Town, South Africa. PHOTO: AP