By Ese Awhotu with agency report
The xenophobic attacks in South Africa yesterday took a dramatic twist as Nigerians and other foreign nationals resident in the country’s Keimoes and Upington areas of Northern Cape Province were given 12 hours to vacate by the indigenes.
The vacation order was handed down to Nigerians and other foreign nationals on Thursday morning.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, which broke the news yesterday reported that the President of Nigeria Union in South Africa, Adetola Olubajo, made the disclosure in a statement made available to the Agency on Thursday in Lagos.
Mr Olubajo said the development was as a result of an ugly incident that took place on Wednesday between a police officer and a Nigerian.
He said that the Nigerian man, an indigene of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, allegedly stabbed to death the police officer, Nico Visagie, during a disagreement at 5 a.m.
Mr Olubajo said the details of the disagreement were still not very clear as the major witness was also stabbed multiple times and was still in critical condition at the hospital.
“After the horrific incident, the community members of Keimoes and environs went on rampage burning and destroying properties belonging to foreign nationals, Nigerians in particular.
“These attacks spread to Upington and Nigerians and other foreign nationals were also expelled from Upington.
“Prompt Police intervention this morning brought about calm but the situation is still tensed. Some locals were arrested by the police for public disturbance and malicious damage to properties.
“They appeared in a magistrates’ court this morning for bail hearing,’’ he said.
He added that the suspect who stabbed the police officer had been arrested and would appear in court on or before next Monday.
“We commend the swift intervention of the members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the arrest of the suspect is a welcome development.
“We hope the police will continue to maintain law and order in the area,’’ Mr Olubajo said.
Keimoes is a town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It lies on the Orange River and is about halfway between Upington and Kakamas.
South Africa in September 2019 apologised to Nigeria over a wave of xenophobic attacks which led to violence between the two countries.
Recall that twelve people were killed in September 2019 when a fresh xenophobic attack broke out in South Africa. This followed mob attacks on foreign-owned businesses, mainly in Johannesburg.
In Nigeria, South African-owned businesses were targeted with violence retaliation in some cities.
This is even after the Police in South Africa arrested more than 100 people in five areas impacted by days of violence in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Following the uproar that graced the attacks in South Africa, Nigerian youth took to the streets to attack South African owned businesses.
The offices of South Africa telecommunications giant MTN in Ibadan were set ablaze, while the company’s office in Uyo was also attacked by an angry crowd that vandalized properties.
MTN shops in the Surulere neighborhood of Lagos were also vandalized with shattered glasses, tires and damaged printers laying the premises.
South Africa’s special envoy, Jeff Radebe consequently, presented an apology to President Muhammadu Buhari, expressing the country’s unalloyed apologies at a meeting in Abuja.