Nigerians in South Africa have threatened a revolt against looters who, since last week, have been looting foreign-owned shops in Gauteng.
Nigerian soldiers stand at the ready at the headquarters of the 120th Battalion in Goniri, Yobe State, in Nigeria’s restive northeast on July 3, 2019. – Boko Haram’s decade-long campaign of violence has killed 27,000 people and displaced about two million in Nigeria. The insurgency has spilled over into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting formation of a regional military coalition to defeat the jihadist group.
According to the latest information released by the police, at least 100 people have been placed under arrest for their alleged participation in the pillaging of foreign-owned shops we saw between Sunday and Monday.
“They were arrested on a variety of crimes including malicious damage to property, attempted murder, theft, housebreaking,” police spokesperson, Vishnu Naidoo, revealed in a statement.
He also confirmed that, as things stand, two people died, including a woman, as a result of the violence that broke out in the city. While things are said to have calmed down in some parts of the city, it seems that on Tuesday morning, the violence moved to the Alexandra township.
The streets, according to Gauteng’s Provincial Commissioner, Lt General Elias Mawela, are currently on lockdown, using rubber bullets and stun grenades to maintain law and order in the township.
The most recent update we have also received is that there has been looting activity reported in the Fordsberg, Johannesburg. People have been advised to practise extreme caution in the area.
What fuelled the riots taking place in Gauteng?
The protests we have seen this week are a continuation of the violence that broke out in Pretoria CBD last week, when taxi drivers took to the streets, in reaction to the news of the death of a fellow driver who was allegedly killed by Nigerian drug dealers.
While the allegations surrounding the death of the taxi driver are the subject of an ongoing police investigation and have yet to be verified by forensic evidence, locals took the fight to the doorstep of foreign-owned shops across the province, calling on them to leave the country.
Nigerians revolt: Foreign nationals threaten to unleash revenge in South Africa
In response to the targeted xenophobic violence, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) called for the South African government to either get a hold of the situation that’s been taking place in Gauteng or deal with the consequence of more than 120 South African companies in Nigeria being forced to close up shop.
This ultimatum was later echoed by the Nigerian government who, on Twitter, stated that:
“The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africans are unacceptable. Enough is enough. Nigeria will take defensive measures to ensure the safety and protection of its citizens.”
Following the tweets of the Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, its fair to say South Africa is the brink of a diplomatic crisis with Nigeria
More Nigerians on the ground in South Africa revealed that Boko Haram, an infamous terrorist group, has allegedly been alerted of the situation in the country and that they will “unleash revenge.”
This, of course, has not been confirmed by authorities. As far as we know, the South African government, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is due for a meeting with the Nigerian presidency, in October, to discuss the ongoing tensions between the two leading African nations.
Genevieve Nnaji, a Nigerian Veteran actress joined Nigerian celebrities in condemning the xenophobic attacks carried out by South Africans against foreigners, mostly Nigerians in their country.
Genevieve, speaking on the development, stated that South Africans had shown Nigerians countless times who they were.
It’s time to show them who we are. But most importantly, it’s time we believed in ourselves. They see our potential; our greatness. We need to see it too.
We can’t ignore the signs much longer. Change is inevitable. Let us stay ahead of it. Long live Nigeria.”