South Africa anti-immigrant protests erupt in capital

This week‚ a Nigerian senior presidential aide on foreign affairs‚ Abike Dabiri-Erewa‚ reportedly said in a statement that 20 of these Nigerians were killed past year alone and called on the African Union (AU) to intervene in what Dabira-Erewa was quoted as saying were "killings in SA".

Nigeria and South Africa, the continent's two largest economies and pre-eminent diplomatic and military powers, have a volatile relationship.

In the last week, more than 20 shops have been targeted in Atteridgeville, outside Pretoria, while residents in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, attacked at least 12 houses.

Authorities must ensure adequate protection for all refugees and migrants living in South Africa, amid the current protests in Pretoria and the escalating xenophobic tension and attacks in different parts of Gauteng Province, Amnesty International said today.

Zimbabwe's consul-general to the South Africa, Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro, said they would continue engaging the host government over the potentially volatile issue.

Ikechukwu Anyene, president, Nigeria Union, South Africa, told NAN on Monday that some Nigerians received calls asking for payment to protect their homes and businesses.

He said that the attacks were unfortunate and unwarranted despite "the frustration and anger should that people might be feeling".

South African marcher Aysha Ali, 25, daubed Nigerians "very bad".

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Local media showed protesters in the South African capital Pretoria joining an anti-immigrant march on the foreign ministry on Friday, with some carrying makeshift weapons.

He wrote: "The South Africans must be careful". Armed police had formed a barrier between citizens and non-national marches.

"How can we say that we are the giant of Africa when in other African countries, our citizens are being killed?" he said.

The incidents have prompted an angry response in Nigeria, where protesters in Abuja on Thursday marched to the offices of South African telecoms firm MTN and satellite cable service provider, DSTV.

In the parish groups, "building trust is crucial", Mafinyori said, noting that with South Africans blaming immigrants for many of their problems, "mistrust among foreign nationals is huge".

"In terms of what we have done so far, I have asked our mission in Pretoria and Johannesburg to file a full report, to investigate the alleged reported killing so that government would consider what is appropriate to the circumstance", said Eniokanolaiye.

Resentment against foreigners has sometimes turned deadly in South Africa amid accusations that they take jobs from locals in a country where unemployment is above 25 percent.

"Industrious Nigerians were being accused of taking over businesses in South Africa while their own businesses strive freely here", she said.


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