Nigeria has threatened “definitive”action to protect its citizens in South Africa following a wave of attacks on foreigners and foreign-owned businesses in the country. The warning raises tensions between Africa’s two largest economies just as dignitaries from across the continent gather in Cape Town for an international conference. According to a Nigerian government representative in Abuja, “The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are unacceptable,”. “Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure the safety and protection of her citizens.”
South Africa is facing criticism over a fresh wave of violence against African immigrants and foreign-owned businesses. Angry mobs looted, burned and vandalized shops, properties, and vehicles, after violence flared on Sunday. South Africa police say five people were killed and 189 people allegedly involved in the violence have been arrested. Many foreign-owned stores were targeted in the violence.
Xenophobic and anti-immigrant attacks are not new in South Africa. Demonstrators forced hundreds of foreigners from their home and looted some businesses in Durban in April. They claimed that foreigners had taken jobs that should have been filled by locals. In 2017, violent anti-immigrant protests broke out in the capital Pretoria and in 2015, several people were killed and thousands fled after xenophobic attacks across the country.