South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in the country where there’s looting and violence targeting the foreigners.”
There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries,” he said on Tuesday”, BBC reported.Dozens of people were arrested in Johannesburg on Monday where at least five people have been killed in the unrest.Other African governments have issued warnings to their citizens over the violence.Attacks on businesses run by “foreign nationals is something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa,” Mr Ramaphosa said in a video posted to Twitter.”I want it to stop immediately,” he added.
But one Nigerian businessman, whose shop was targeted by looters, told the BBC that foreign nationals in South Africa were subjected to “a lot of allegations [and] lies”.”This is not a criminal attack. This is a [xenophobic] attack,” he said.A branch of the South African supermarket Shoprite has been vandalised in the Lagos neighbourhood of Lekki, an eyewitness has told the BBC.
One eyewitness reported seeing two bodies lying on the road outside the shopping centre where the supermarket is based.
Cars stuck in nearby traffic were also vandalised as their passengers fled. The authorities have not confirmed the reports of casualties.
Following this development, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has sent an envoy to South Africa on Tuesday to “express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens”.In a statement, the country’s high commission in South Africa described the situation as “anarchy”.The government alleges that Nigerian-owned businesses were targeted in Johannesburg and it has called on Nigerians to come forward to report what has happened to them.
Ethiopia’s embassy in South Africa has advised its citizens to close their businesses during the ongoing tension, according to Ethiopia’s state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC).
It also says that Ethiopians are advised to “distance themselves from any confrontation and conflict” and not go out wearing expensive jewellery.
But South Africa’s police minister, Bheki Cele, said on Monday that “criminality rather than xenophobia” was to blame for the “senseless violence”.”[Xenophobia] is used as an excuse,” he told reporters after visiting Johannesburg’s Central Business District, where much of the unrest has been taking place.
“Nothing… has sparked any form of conflict between the South Africans and foreign nationals.”This isn’t the first time the country has been rocked by anti-foreigner violence.
In 2015 xenophobic attacks became so bad that a sports field south of Durban was made into a makeshift refugee camp for Africans escaping the violent looters:Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria has shut down its offices nationwide as violent attacks against the company’s outlets and facilities in Nigeria increase in response to xenophobic attacks in South Africa.A message sent to its customers this morning reads: “Yello! Our shops are unavailable today. You can reach us on Twitter- @MTN180, MTNonline.com/Livechat, chat on MyMTN App. For Call Center dial 180. Thank you.”It was gathered that the MTN office located in Karu, a suburb of Abuja, has been vandalised by some Nigerians protesting against the xenophobic attacks on fellow citizens in South Africa.
The police was also forced to fire teargas canister to stop a mob attempting to attack Shoprite outlet in Lugbe, along airport road, Abuja.
The attacks and picketing of South African companies began on Tuesday with several clashes occurring in Lagos and Ibadan.In the early hours of Wednesday, an MTN office in Bodija, Ibadan was set ablaze while one person was killed on Tuesday when police clashed with a mob moving to attack the Shoprite outlet in Lekki, Lagos.