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The Vatican's top official for immigration issues, Cardinal Renato Martino, on Monday described as "deplorable" recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Martino, in a message of support to Johannesburg Archbishop, Buti Joseph Tlhagale, said he was offering condolences to the families of those who died in "the tragic violence" against migrants and refugees.
"I assure of our prayer and moral support, confident that, with the fraternal interventions of the Church and of all people of good will, a lasting solution for this and other such situations will be found and that the people in the region will again live in peace, solidarity and integral development," Martino wrote.
Some 50 people have been killed in the Johannesburg area in violence targeting immigrants from neighbouring states such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique who have been accused of stealing jobs and housing.
The violence which over the last week spread to other areas in the country has displaced over 44 000 and led to over 600 arrests, according to South African news reports.