Nigerians in South Africa 'living in fear' after alleged Xenophobic Attacks!!!

Nigerians in South Africa 'living in fear' after alleged Xenophobic attacks
Photo Credit: Reuters

Nigerians in South Africa 'living in fear' after alleged Xenophobic attacks

After renewed ‘xenophobic’ attacks on African immigrants in Pretoria West, South Africa, the Nigerian community in the country has called for protection. Members of Nigeria’s community who are the most targeted foreigners have raised concerns over renewed anti-immigrant violence, appealing to authorities to intervene before further escalation.

According to the Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA), Nigerians homes and businesses in Pretoria West had been attacked in several late-night occasions in recent days.

"Homes and shops of Nigerians were targeted and looted in the happenings of past few days," Emeka Ezinteje Collins, the national public relations officer of NUSA, told Al Jazeera in an interview, citing at least 10 such attacks.

He added: "Our people and other foreigners are seemingly living in fear of the unknown as the hoodlums have promised more attacks from Friday” when a group called the ‘Mamelodi concerned residents’ is reportedly planning to hold a march protest against foreign nationals.

NUSA also said that some of its members had received threatening phone calls asking for payment to protect their houses and businesses.

"We have also received reports from our members of receiving threatening anonymous calls requesting that money is paid to avert the destruction of their properties," Collins said.
"We implore the South African and Nigerian authorities to intervene early and save the situation before it spills out of hand."

The South African government was approached by Nigeria’s presidency on Monday to step in and stop what it referred to as “xenophobic attacks” following recent reports of violence against Nigerians and other nationals in the capital, Pretoria.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Nigerian president's adviser on foreign affairs and the diaspora, said on Monday the South African government must take "decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerians and other African nationals" within its borders.

She also called on the African Union to weigh in on the violence, adding: "Further attacks without any reprimand may have dire consequences".

Dabiri-Erewa said there was a 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."

South African police reported on Tuesday that at least 20 shops possibly belonging to immigrants were looted in Pretoria overnight, but they could not confirm if the attacks had deliberately targeted foreigners.
The Police spokeswoman Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told the Reuters news agency, "there are allegations that these shops belong to foreign nationals.”

She also said, "It is alleged that the community members are saying that these shops were used for drug dealing, but that is unconfirmed. We will only be able to start a formal investigation once the shop owners come forward."

Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of taking jobs from locals and getting involved in crime.

"We are sick and tired of foreigners who are coming to sell drugs and kill our people, we can't let the community go down like this," an unemployed man in his mid-twenties, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

The attacks in Pretoria West come a few weeks after residents in Rosetenville, a suburb in Johannesburg, reportedly torched properties belonging to Nigerians and other foreigners which allegedly were being used for drug dealing and human trafficking.
According to NUSA, there are about 800,000 Nigerians in South Africa, many of them living in Johannesburg.

The community was previously hit badly by the wave of xenophobic violence that hit the country in April 2015, but South African police said only seven Nigerians died.
An independent watchdog has said 640 people died from police brutality or in custody in South Africa.

In April 2015, Nigeria recalled its top diplomat in South Africa to discuss the anti-immigrant attacks that sent hundreds of foreigners fleeing to safety camps, as authorities sent in soldiers to quell unrest in Johannesburg and Durban.

We hope a lot more calming efforts would be carried out by both the South African and Nigerian governments; else the Nigerian governments should take serious actions that would lead to dire consequences on South Africans in other parts of Africa.



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