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South Africans Attack Nigerians, Loot Shops Belonging To Nigerians, Others

The Nigerian community in South Africa Monday said that another shop belonging to a member was looted in the latest xenophobic attack at Jeppestown, Johannesburg.

Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, President of the Nigeria Union, South Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the phone from Pretoria that the shop was looted on Sunday night.

“We have received information that there was an overnight attack on shops belonging to foreigners at Jeppestown, a business district in Johannesburg.

“A shop belonging to a Nigerian was affected.

“The goods in the shop were looted by the attackers. The Nigerian was not hurt during the attack.

“We also learnt that shops belonging to other foreigners were also looted,” he said.

Anyene stated that attempts made to loot another shop belonging to a Nigerian failed as the owner called the police.

He said the value of items lost in the affected shop had not been ascertained while the incident had been reported to the Nigerian Mission and the South African police.

“We have told Nigerians to adopt protective measures to save their businesses and homes.

“The union is in touch with the Nigerian mission and our chapters in the nine provinces of South Africa are also on alert.

“They have been directed to sensitise our people on the situation in the country and to be cautious in all their endeavours,” he said.

The South African police Monday said no fewer than 100 people ransacked shops in Johannesburg overnight, in a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks in South African cities, reported Reuters.

“We are following up on leads and we are expecting to make more arrests,” police spokesman Brig. Mathapelo Peters said.

She said she did not know the nationalities of the shopkeepers and the police were waiting for owners to come forward so that they could open cases of violence and damage to property.

Similar incidents have taken place in Pretoria this month, but the police have been reluctant to characterise the attacks as being directed against foreigners.

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

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday acknowledged violence had flared up against foreigners this year, saying that “unfortunately, xenophobic violence is not new in South Africa”.

On Friday, police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse marches by hundreds of anti-immigrant protesters in Pretoria, after mobs looted stores believed to belong to immigrants.

More than 150 people were arrested. Also, a Reuters witness said doors and windows were smashed in, and food and other items were strewn on the floor in stores believed to belong to immigrants in Jeppestown, an area in the central business district.

“We’ve been stuck inside here until the police came,” Abdul Ebrahim, a Somali shop owner, said after emerging from his store, where a number of his colleagues had barricaded themselves.

“No one told us what they were looking for,” he added when asked why the mob had attacked his shop. At least one person was arrested.

The Nigerian Government on Thursday urged the South African government to put in place measures to end the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.

Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, gave the directive in Abuja when she met with the High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, for the second time on the issue.

The ministry had on Monday, February 20, summoned the South Africa High Commissioner over the same matter.

Nigerian buildings, property and places of worship worth millions of dollars were destroyed by South Africans on February 5 and 18.  (thenigerian.ng)

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