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Xenophobic attacks escalate in South Africa

Xenophobic attacks escalate in South Africa

The renewed onslaught on Nigerians and other immigrants resident in South Africa escalated yesterday with the South African Police authorities insisting that the situation in Pretoria was ‘under control’ despite the arrest of 136 people.

The clarification came as the Police and people marching against immigrants were locked in a tense standoff in the Pretoria CBD yesterday morning, with stun grenades going off near the Department of Home Affairs building.

But confirming that the situation was under control, South Africa’s Acting National Commander of SAPS, Lt. Gen. Phahlane, said SAPS have arrested 136 people.

Though a police helicopter hovered overhead and public order police officers weaved through the large crowd, reportes, however, revealed that at one point, the group tried to push past the police with many in the crowd carrying sticks, rods and other items. One man told journalists that: “The foreigners have real guns.

They are selling drugs and involved in prostitution and the municipality is helping them. They must leave.” The man’s account, however, came as some foreign nationals faced the group, shouting at them.

In his comment, the Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, said South Africans should blame the government for lack of jobs, and not other Africans living in the country. While the anti-immigration protests erupted in South Africa yesterday, policemen were deployed in key cities while Nigerian Consulate released emergency hotlines.

On his part, President Jacob Zuma condemned the latest wave of xenophobic unrest, saying there had been “threats of violence and acts of intimidation and destruction of property directed at non-nationals”.

“Residents in some communities blame non-nationals for the escalating crimes especially drug trafficking,” the presidency said in a statement yesterday. In Abuja, the Nigeria Police Force yesterday beefed up security on the premises of MTN and Shoprite in Abuja.

The security build up was effected even as the MTN office located on Madeira Street, off Shehu Shagari Way was placed under lock and key.

When Saturday Telegraph visited the area, a detachment of anti-riot policemen we’re on guard alongside the men of a private security company that usually provided security at the premises of the telecommunication firm.

Apart from the armed policemen keeping watch under a tree a few meters from the gate, there were others during inside a police truck stationed by the road intersection.

Not far from the truck was a blue coloured police patrol van with the emblem of the mobile police unit crested on its sides.

Although inside the premises of the telecommunication firm was like a ghost yard, the small scale retailers of MTN products and technicians who usually click around the vicinity were seen making brisk business.

On sighting Saturday Telegraph crew, one of these retailers rushed to us to seek patronage after announcing that the employees of MTN were on a forced holiday. ” If na MTN people you dey look for, dem no dey today.

They close down because of the protest here yesterday when some people enter inside to cause trouble,” he said. A source in the company told Saturday Telegraph that the management of MTN directed its staff to keep off from the office because of the experience they had when some protesters stormed their office on Thursday and ransacked it.

“At first we thought it was a peaceful protest but it soon turned violent as some hoodlums took over, stealing phone and laptops.

It might not have been the intention of the leaders of NANS to make it violent but it turned out to be so because you can’t guarrantee the behaviour of everybody in such a mass protest,” he said.

At the Shoprite sales outlets located in Jabi and Silverbird Galleria, shopping went on smoothly.

A long queue was noticed at the entrace to the Shoprite superstore near the Yar Adua Centre and the private security men in uniform checked the booths of cars to ensure they were not carrying

This post first appeared on The Nations Light, please read the originial post: here

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Xenophobic attacks escalate in South Africa


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