THREE more Nigerians have been injured in fresh xenophobic attacks in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province barely a week after Ikenna Otugo was stabbed to death by unknown assailants in Empageni.
Last month, angry mobs of South African youths frustrated with their economic plight began venting their fury on African migrants in the country, burning down businesses and attacking foreign nationals. Their actions have led to widespread condemnation, with African leaders reminding South Africans who fought for their freedom from apartheid.
Under pressure, South Africa’s leaders tried to organise a series of education seminars to remind their populace that it was other Africans who fought to liberate them. President Muhammadu Buhari also met with President Cyril Ramaphosa in a bid to end the crisis and although things abated, they appear to have flared up again.
Yesterday, Adetola Olubajo, the president of the Nigerian Union South Africa, said: “The Department of Home Affairs, which is like our own ministry of interior that deals with immigration and citizens’ issues, is briefing parliament on migration today. While that is going on, there is an attack on foreign nationals in the Witbank area of Mpumalanga Province and there are some locations mainly in Extension 10, even the police commander there was giving a warning to foreign nationals to be careful.
“Although no death has been recorded so far, there has been loss of properties and people have been injured. At the last count, there are four of them have been injured who are Nigerians.
“We are very saddened that, even after all the efforts of the two governments to forge ahead with good programmes and suggestions here and there, this kind of thing happened. It is so unfortunately because they have to go back to the drawing board or speed up the implementation of some of the mechanisms they agreed on.”
He stated that, even though the taxi drivers and people in the community claimed that they were attacking drug dealers, there was no evidence to support this. He also confirmed that the shop of a prominent Nigerian in the area was burnt down, so the Nigerians had to seek refuge at a police station.
“I am saddened because a Nigerian was also stabbed to death a few days ago in Empangeni and the culprits are still at large. We believe that if there is no deterrent for some of the perpetrators of these crimes against Africans, Nigerians in particular, these things will continue to happen,” Mr Olubajo added.
He called on the Nigerian federal government and the South African government to speed up the implementation of their agreement and put in place a tactical response team that will ensure, not only that reports are made but that culprits are arrested too.