Again, Three Die as South Africans Attack Foreigners

Geoffrey Onyeama

* FG will take definite measures, says Onyeama Text Box:Dabiri-Erewa seeks AU’s intervention

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

South Africans have reportedly killed three people in their latest attacks on foreigners whose property were also looted and burnt.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, yesterday said that the federal government would take definitive measures in response to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

This is coming as the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, yesterday said that there may be a need for African Union’s intervention to stop the attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

The President of the Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA), Adetola Olubajo said yesterday that the latest attacks began on Sunday morning in Jeppestown area of Johannesburg when a building was set ablaze by an angry mob.

“The mob also looted several shops that were around the vicinity suspected to be owned by foreign nationals.

“But the Police later dispersed the mob and made some arrests,’’ he said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“Late in the evening of Sunday, September 1, a group of violent locals suspected to be Zulu hostel dwellers besieged Jules Street in Malvern, Johannesburg looted and burned shops/businesses.’’

Olubajo said that information gathered by members of NUSA in Malvern area indicated that over 50 shops/businesses were destroyed, looted and burnt overnight.

“Also, some businesses owned by foreign nationals were looted in Germiston on Sunday evening. A Nigerian-owned Internet Café and computer accessories business was among the looted shops in Germiston.

“When I got the sad news late yesterday (Sunday) evening, I immediately informed the Police in Jeppestown but lots of damage had been done already.

“The means of livelihood of people were looted and destroyed by fire overnight which has left many Nigerians traumatised.

“Nigerian-owned businesses were seriously affected. A car sales business owned by a Nigerian was among the several businesses set ablaze over the night.

“Although the Police said that many people had been arrested in connection with the unnecessary attacks, the looting and burning of foreign-owned businesses continued till Monday morning,’’ he said.

He added that property and businesses belonging to foreign nationals worth millions of Rands had been lost to looting and burning in the past week at different locations in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Olubajo said that there was massive protest march in different parts of Johannesburg ,which were targeted at foreign nationals, adding that some of the areas affected by the violent protest march were Rosettenville, Turfontein, Germison, Primrose and Silverton in Pretoria.

“We implore the security operatives to be proactive and not reactive as many long years hard-earned investments have been lost through looting, destruction and burning.

“Our government officials should also seriously engage their counterparts in South Africa.

“This proactive move will go a long way to prevent further loss of properties and even lives. The situation is tensed and very dangerous for foreign nationals, hence, we implore Nigerians in South Africa, most especially in Gauteng Province to be vigilant and stay safe,’’ he said.

Reacting to the attacks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Onyeama, yesterday said that Nigeria would take definitive measures.

On his verified Twitter handle, the foreign minister called the attackers, “mindless criminals” and alleged that police intervention was “ineffective”.

Onyeama tweeted, “Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection. Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures.”

In her reaction, Dabiri-Erewa said that there may be a need for AU’s intervention to stop the attacks on foreigners.

Dabiri- Erewa on her verified twitter handle,@abikedabiri, had tweeted that while she couldn’t verify most of the videos of the attacks, whatever decisions needed to be taken could only be taken at the ministerial level.

She tweeted, “Sad, Reports from South Africa attacking foreigners. I can’t verify most of the videos. However, whatever decisions to be taken now can only be at the Ministerial level. AU intervention may be crucial. This is not what we should be doing to ourselves as Africans.”