S.Africa shuts embassy in Nigeria after xenophobic attacks - Official - International

"After receiving reports and threats from some of the Nigerians, we chose to temporarily close while we are assessing the situation", foreign ministry spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said, adding the missions were shut on Wednesday.

"The South African government has to assume its responsibilities and protect Nigerians in South Africa and we have to hold them to account and they have to do that as well as pay full compensation", he said.

South Africa said Thursday it had temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria as the country came under fire for a wave of attacks on foreign-owned stores.

The latest spate of South African attacks broke out in Johannesburg on Sunday and saw the destruction of more than 50 shops and business premises mainly owned by Africans from countries in the rest of the continent.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Despite a downturn in violence, tensions rose on the diplomatic front with Nigeria, which has declared it would boycott the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town.

"Clearly with this climate, he (Osinbajo) and Mr. President have agreed that he should not go", Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama told a news briefing. South African telecoms giant MTN closed its shops as a precaution.

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Information Minister Lai Mohammed also warned in a statement that "targeting South African companies in Nigeria for attack was akin to cutting off ones nose to spite the face".

South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday that Nigeria needs to address the fact that some Nigerians are, in fact, involved in criminal activities in South Africa.

One of the traders who stated that he does not see anything wrong with countries demanding the expulsion of foreigners for taking away employment opportunities from its citizens bemoaned the means adopted by the South Africans; Which is attacking foreigners and their businesses resulting in deaths.

"We applaud the South African Government for their swift intervention to end the violence and bring the perpetrators to book". "South Africa must be a country where everyone feels safe", the country's president said on Wednesday.

"I'm not happy with the behaviour of South Africans".

It advised those interested in the offer to liaise with Nigeria embassy in South Africa to make the "necessary arrangement".

"... Today after watching the Killing of my people in South Africa the same way we have all watched it happen a few times in the past".

  • Sonia Alvarado