South African mob targets Nigerians, other African nationals

September 2, 2019
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South African protesters on Monday attacked businesses belonging to Nationals of other African countries, especially Nigerians in another upsurge of violence against foreign nationals.

Recall that a group under the aegis of Sisonke Peoples forum Hlanganani Makhosi Oblanga of South Africa had on Sunday called for a nationwide protest for today Monday 2 against foreign nationals in the country whom they accused of taken over jobs meant for South Africans.

In a statement seen by National Daily titled: Enough is enough, on Selling of Drugs, on Property Theft, and on Our Work Taken by Foreign Nationals, the group called on students, music artists, civil servants, law enforcement agents and others to come together and protest against foreign nations on September 2, 2019.

National Daily gathered that Police arrested at least 41 people and fought running battles with looters across Johannesburg after a series of attacks in the early hours of Monday.

Images broadcast on South Africa’s public broadcaster showed people breaking into stores and carrying away foodstuffs, alcohol and clothing. In the eastern suburb of Malvern, at least three people died in a fire before looting started, according to the police.

The unrest evoked memories of anti-immigrant violence in 2015 that left at least seven people dead before the army and police restored calm. In 2008, about 60 people were killed and 50,000 others were forced to flee their homes in similar clashes.

“We believe that these attacks are xenophobic,” said Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group.

The police condemned the “mayhem” and warned they would crack down on further acts of criminality.

“Those who are hell-bent on turning Gauteng into a crime haven will be found and will face the full might of the law,” provincial police commissioner, Elias Mawela, said in a statement.

Previous attacks have mostly taken place in poor townships, where some residents see migrants as competitors for jobs, business opportunities and scarce housing. The latest unrest happened in areas including central Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial capital.

Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Nigerians, Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants have previously been the target of the violence.

The Johannesburg Metropolitan Bus services, which transports tens of thousands of passengers daily to various points around the city, suspended it services until further notice due to the violence.

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