Malawians are among foreigners forced to seek refuge at various police stations in Lusaka following attacks on foreigners in Zambia.
Foreigners are accused of ritual killings that have become rampant in the country.
It has been reported that some foreigners were arrested as suspects in these ritual killings.
This sparked riots which saw locals going on a looting spree of mostly foreign-owned shops and attacking foreigners.
Meanwhile, The Zambian Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila issued a statement giving assurances that police would handle the situation.
“Today has been a very sad day for our country. It is a day on which some criminal elements in Lusaka with criminal intent took advantage of the pain and grief we have all felt over the suspected ritual killings that have rocked the city of Lusaka since March 16, 2016,” he said.
Mwila said the situation had been hijacked by criminal elements who took advantage and looted foreign-owned businesses.
The riots are said to have been sparked by false reports of the release of a suspected ritual murderer.
However, the minister said the man had been arrested for conduct likely to disturb peace contrary to reports that he was facing murder charges. More than 62 shops had been looted by yesterday while 256 suspects were arrested for looting.
Looters targeted foodstuffs such as maize flour, sugar, bread, cooking oil and other essential commodities. Meanwhile the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) through its Zambian representative Ms Laura Lo Castro, has issued a statement expressing worry over the attacks on foreigners and refugees.
“We would like to urge Zambians to continue maintaining the unblemished high reputation, respected by the international community, of being hospitable to foreigners, including refugees,” reads part of the statement.
She commended Zambian government’s efforts to contain the violence and encouraged continued efforts in restoring stability in the affected areas.
Castro however noted that many refugees had been calling on the UNHCR to express their fears and share information about loss of property.
“It is very concerning and sad to hear news of violence against brothers and sisters of nearby countries. While we appreciate the efforts made so far, UNHCR is calling on the government to continue to do all it can to prevent any future incidents,’’ Ms Castro said.