The U.S. Embassy in South Africa has flatly denied President Donald Trump’s claims that murders of white farmers in the country are on the rise amid land redistribution plans by the government.
Trump drew the ire of the South African government last week when he tweeted concerns about the alleged “large-scale killings of farmers.”
“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers,” the president falsely tweeted after seeing a report by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”
However, a secret cable from the U.S. Embassy to the White House explicitly stated that murders in the country area actually down, Foreign Policy reported. In fact, farm murders are the lowest they’ve been in 19 years.
Titled “Despite Crime Epidemic, Farm Murders Down,” the cable gives statistics on murder rates on farms owned by white South Africans. Not once does it mention the president or his false claims, but simply states that “some journalists and lobby groups have simplified complex land disputes to serve their own ends.”
Per the Foreign Policy report, officials with the U.S. Embassy spoke with several officials and locals to gain an understanding of the extent of the alleged violence against white South African farmers. What they found was “no evidence that murders on farms specifically target white people or are politically motivated.”
“Farmers suggested that they are more vulnerable to violence because of the remoteness of the farms and inadequate responses of law enforcement agencies, but they also noted that farm violence has never resulted in any kind of land seizure,” the cable stated.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department offered more details on the issue. While he declined to comment on the “internal communication,” he did say that “crime rates in South Africa are very high, including in rural areas, where South African of all ethnicities have been victims of tragic and senseless violence.”