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Xenophobia: S/Africans Attack Nigerian Businesses Again

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Abu Khalifa with NAN Report

The Nigerian Community in South Africa has confirmed attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.

President, Nigeria Union, Ikechukwu Anyene, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, that the attacks began at 4.00am. He said that the union had reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police.

“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans. One of the buildings is a mechanic garage with 28 cars under repairs, with other vital documents, were burned during the attack. Also, the pastor of the church was wounded and is in the hospital receiving treatment,” Anyene said.

He added that the union had informed Nigerians in South Africa to be vigilant in the face of renewed xenophobic attacks and that the union received information that there will be xenophobic attacks against foreigners on February 22 and February 23.

“We began taking precautionary measures when the incident took place today. The attack in Pretoria West is purely xenophobic and criminal attack because they loot the shops and homes before burning them,” he said.

Anyene called on the federal government to persuade its South African counterpart to protect Nigerians in their country.

“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” he said.

Violent attacks on immigrants by South Africans were common in the country even during the apartheid regime before democratization in 1994. Surprisingly these attacks increased after the attainment of black majority rule.

The most recent xenophobic attacks in the country before Saturday’s was in 2015 when Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, was reported to have said [Foreigners] “should pack their bags and go back home.” Many South African however, rallied against the violent attacks.

It will be recalled that Hon. Abike Dabri, S.A. to the president on Diaspora affairs, was reported last week, to have said over 200 Nigerians were killed in South Africa over the last two years.

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