Wednesday 18 September 2019

Violence in Nigeria 'to avenge attacks' in South Africa

There are five million immigrants in South Africa, where unemployment stands at 29pc (stock photo)
There are five million immigrants in South Africa, where unemployment stands at 29pc (stock photo)

Adrian Blomfield

Some South African chains closed their stores in Nigeria yesterday as waves of tit-for-tat violence broke out against foreign-owned businesses.

Mobs in several Nigerian cities gathered to avenge attacks on immigrant-owned premises after similar violence in Johannesburg and Pretoria earlier this week left at least five dead.

The perception that Nigerians were specifically targeted sparked a diplomatic row between South Africa and Nigeria, Africa's chief economic powers.

Nigeria's government threatened to boycott a World Economic Forum conference in Cape Town yesterday after accusing South Africa of being slow to respond to the violence.

African celebrities, including Nigerian singers and Zambia's football team, led calls for a boycott of South Africa.

Poison

The crisis also threatened to poison relations between Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, and other African leaders.

Mr Ramaphosa said: "Taking action against people from other nations is not justified and should not be allowed in our beautiful country."

After ordering in extra police, the violence had largely abated by yesterday morning, with officers making 300 arrests.

The trouble was said to have started after foreigners were singled out, allegedly for causing jobs and housing shortages.

There are five million immigrants in South Africa, where unemployment stands at 29pc.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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