Abuja Nigeria – South African police fired rubber bullets Friday to disperse crowds setting immigrant businesses ablaze as attacks against foreigners spread to Johannesburg.
Chanting and singing, machete-armed residents burned down shops owned by foreigners, including a Nigerian dealership in the nation’s largest city. Immigrants carrying bricks accused police of not doing enough to protect them as businesses smoldered.
According to statement credited to the Nigerian High Commission, ‘’As from Monday 20th of April 2015, the process of evacuating Nigerians from South Africa will begin as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria due to the ongoing Xenophobic attacks on black foreign nationals in the Republic of South Africa’’.
To that effect an evacuation register will be open at the High Commission in Pretoria for Nigerians intending to return to Nigeria but cannot afford flight tickets.
Nigerian comedian tweeted Gordons twitted‘’ Nigeria spent $61 billion to help free South Africa from apartheid, years later, they’re now killing Nigerians? I wish Mandela were alive… ‘’
Jacob Zuma cancels trip to Indonesia
In a statement, Mr Zuma said: “These attacks go against everything we believe in. The majority of South Africans love peace and good relations with their brothers and sisters in the continent.” Mr Zuma said in a televised speech: “We are certainly going to stop the violence.”
The violence spread from Durban to Johannesburg even though Zuma has condemned the attacks and appealed for calm.
“No amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops,” he said. “The attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life.”
Zuma said he has ordered police to work around the clock to protect citizens and immigrants, and arrest the perpetrators
Robert Mugabe ‘’disgusted’’
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, speaking as chair of both the Southern African Development Community and African Union, said: “I would want now to express our sense of shock, disgust, as we abhor the incidences which happened in Durban.”
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been accused of fuelling the attacks by saying that foreigners should “go back to their countries”. However, he says his comments were distorted.
Official data suggests there are about two million foreign nationals in South Africa, about 4% of the total population. But some estimates put the number of immigrants at five million.
Attacks against Somali entrepreneurs
On 30 May 2013, 25-year-old Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good, was stoned to death. The violence was captured on a mobile phone and shared on the Internet
Three Somali shopkeepers had been killed in June 2013 and the Somali government requested the South African authorities to do more to protect their nationals. Among those murdered were two brothers who were allegedly hacked to death.The attacks led to public outcry and worldwide protests by the Somali diaspora, in Cape Town, London and Minneapolis.
South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expressed the government’s “strongest condemnation” of the violence which has recently seen looting and the death of a Somali shopkeeper.
Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon has expressed concern for the safety of Somalis in South Africa, calling on the government there to intervene to stop violence against Somali people after deadly attacks in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth last week.
On 7 June 2014, a Somali national, in his 50s, was reportedly stoned to death and two others were seriously injured when the angry mob of locals attacked their shop in extension 6 late on Saturday. Three more Somalis were wounded from gunshots and shops were looted.
After another round of xenophobic violence against Somali entrepreneurs in April 2015, Somalia’s government announced that it would evacuate its citizens from South Africa.
Attacks against South Asian entrepreneurs
In April 2015, there was an upsurge in xenophobic attacks throughout the country. Armed locals attacked immigrants in general, including Pakistani and Bangladeshi shopkeepers.
In April 2015, the xenophobic attacks spread to Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. Locals were reportedly looting foreigners properties and attacking immigrants in general, forcing hundreds of migrants to relocate to police stations across the country. The Malawi authorities subsequently began repatriating their nationals, and a number of other foreign governments also announced that they would evacuate their citizens.
As of April 19, at least six people have been killed in the attacks, and more than 300 people have been arrested
Source:BBC, CNN, Wikipedia, NAN