Nigeria to evacuate citizens from South Africa over attacks

Monday September 09 2019

An armed mob runs through Johannesburg's Katlehong Township during a new wave of anti-foreigner violence on September 5, 2019. Some 400 Nigerians living in South Africa will be evacuated starting Wednesday, following unrest in the southern African nation. PHOTO | GUILLEM SARTORIO | AFP



Some 400 Nigerians living in South Africa will be evacuated starting Wednesday, following unrest in the southern African nation.

The Nigerian Mission in South Africa said its citizens had indicated that they wanted to leave the country and they have been given the necessary documents in readiness for their departure.

Some parts of South Africa, including Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, were hit with widespread violence and looting in the past week, with reports indicating that the attacks targeted foreigners.

This was followed by reprisal attacks in several Nigerian cities against South African businesses such as stores operated by the supermarket chain Shoprite, the telecoms giant MTN and other firms, with the tension forcing MTN to shut its offices. Nigerian police then strengthened security around South African businesses.



Last week, Nigeria summoned South African envoy over violence targeting Nigerians in South Africa.

The Nigerian government said on Twitter it would not tolerate further attacks on its citizens.

"The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are unacceptable. Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure safety and protection of her citizens," it added.

Reports indicate there was a fresh wave of violence in Johannesburg on Sunday targeting foreigners, with protesters insisting that foreigners should leave the country.

Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, said on Sunday he expects more Nigerians to indicate interest in leaving South Africa.

Nigeria’s airline, Air Peace, released one of the Boeing 777 in its fleet for the evacuation.

“We have more than enough for that aircraft. Over 400 Nigerians have already registered; more are still coming,” Adama said.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, also reported: “We are documenting them. Those without travel documents, we shall provide them with emergency travel certificates.

“There are other governmental procedures that we must observe. Relevant agencies of government in Nigeria must be informed and must be ready to receive the returnees.

“Hard work is now going on at the High Commission and Consulate in this regard. As soon as all procedures and relevant protocols are observed, the return is assured and guaranteed.

“A little more patience will be helpful. The response of Nigerians is just amazing.”