More than 400 Bangladeshis have been murdered in South Africa over the past four years because of business and personal disputes within the community, government officials said on Tuesday.
A wave of deadly attacks on foreign workers in SA in recent weeks has cast a spotlight on the country’s record.
The Bangladesh embassy in Pretoria said none of the South Asian country’s nationals were involved in that violence.
Instead, the Bangladesh ambassador revealed most of the deaths were over business and money disputes, extra-marital affairs, and other personal arguments.
The embassy said the bodies of 88 Bangladeshi migrants had already been repatriated this year, and 452 since January 2015.
“Approximately 95% of those who died here were murdered, mostly shot dead in their shops,” an embassy official said.
The numbers could be higher
Ambassador Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury said the number killed could be far higher, as many families do not report the deaths.
“Many are buried here. It is therefore uncertain to tell the exact number of dead,” he told AFP.
Chowdhury said most Bangladeshis “hire local hitmen” who carry out killings to settle disputes.
“Quite a lot of Bangladeshis have been shot dead, but we don’t report them, let alone seek justice, because many of us live here illegally,” Abdul Awal Tansen, a top Bangladeshi community leader in Johannesburg, told AFP.