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Xenophobia: Nigerians in South Africa attacked

The Nigerian community in South Africa said recently that some of its members were receiving calls threatening more attacks against their homes and businesses.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that some South Africans launched xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals in Pretoria West.

 

A mob burned no fewer than five homes and businesses belonging to Nigerians.

Ikechukwu Anyene, President, Nigeria Union, South Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria by the telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, that some Nigerians received calls asking for payment to protect their homes and businesses.

 

“Some Nigerians and other foreign nationals in Pretoria West now live in fear. Some have started packing their belongings for fear of more attacks.

 

“They confirmed to the union that some South Africans were calling and threatening to unleash more mayhem against them.

 

“The callers asked for money to be spared the attacks.

 

“The union is worried about the development because the South African police are yet to arrest those who perpetrated the attacks,” he said.

 

According to Mr. Anyene, the union has pleaded with Nigerians to take precautionary measures and remain law abiding.

 

“We also urge the Federal Government to persuade its South African counterpart to put in place measures to guarantee the safety of Nigerians,” he said.

 

Protests

Nigerians in Abuja reportedly staged an anti-xenophobia protest outside the South African embassy in the capital Abuja on Wednesday, calling on authorities to “stop attacks on African nationals”.

 

According to BBC Live, the protest, organised by members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, urged the South African government to urgently address the situation.

 

The protesters carried protests signs such as “South Africa we say stop killing our people” and chanted slogans denouncing the attacks, the report said.

 

“We are doing this because of the killings taking place in South Africa, we want to express our displeasure over that and urge them to take measures to address the situation.

 

“We presented a petition in which we want them to call their people to order. We have foreigners here and it will not be good if there is reprisal attacks that will not make world a peaceful place to live,” one of the protesters was quoted as saying.

 

Drugs and prostitution

 

This came as Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba was expected on Thursday to brief the media in Parliament on the recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

 

Violence broke out in Pretoria West over the weekend, with residents vowing to rid the area of drugs and prostitution. They raided homes they claimed were used as drug dens and brothels.

 

At least two houses were set alight.

 

Meanwhile, on Monday Nigeria urged the African Union to step in and stop the attacks on its citizens and other Africans in South Africa.

 

The Nigerian presidency said there was need for the continental body to “intervene urgently”, claiming that in the last two years “about 116” Nigerians had been killed, including 20 last year.

 

“This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” a senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was quoted as saying.

 

According to the Nigerian Union in South Africa, there were about 800 000 Nigerians in South Africa, many of them living in Johannesburg.

 

Nigerians are threatening to boycott South African businesses in Nigeria. A protest will be held in Toronto, Canada this Thursday in front of the South African Embassy by all African people.

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