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Sunday, 12 February 2017

South Africans burn atleast 15 houses of Nigerians, other nationals in fresh attacks

South African nationals in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, are up in arms burning houses or rented apartments belonging to foreigners following accusations that non-indigenes were turning their neighbourhood into a drug den.

Reports say no less than 15 houses and shops also belonging to foreigners have been razed in the attack by angry South African residents who are calling for the sacking of non-nationals in the neighbourhood.
Some Nigerians in Johannesburg have taken to Twitter to express their anger. Arewa Youth Forum ‏@ArewaYouthForum tweeted on Sunday, “Nigerians’ houses burnt in Johannesburg”.

Mr Marc Gbaffou, the African Diaspora Forum (ADM) chairperson, blamed the attacks which also saw the looting of some shops on Johannesburg’s Mayor, Herman Mashaba, for his inflammatory comments when he visited Rosettenville last Friday saying illegal immigrants got there criminally and should be treated as such.

He also claimed that foreign nationals were using girls as young as nine as prostitutes in ‘drug houses’.

In his remarks, Mashaba said; “According to community members, these homes are illegally occupied by Nigerian foreign nationals who run the homes as brothels and have girls as young as nine years old working as prostitutes.

“Many of the women in these brothels are also alleged to have no official identification documentation”, he added.

However, Mr Gbaffou noted that it was reckless on the part of the Johannesburg Mayor to make such comments without any proof; “What proof does he have that foreigners are running these brothels? His remarks are very inflammatory, and it makes no difference that he has diverted from illegal immigrants to drug peddling. It is very dangerous and we see it as propaganda of hatred,” he said.

Calling on law enforcement officials to take action against criminals, a community leader, Mr Andile Tshem, also implored residents to desist from violence. “We don’t encourage this at all, you cannot correct a wrong with another wrong. South African people must not be living on the streets when foreigners are using houses as brothels,” he said.

The attack is coming days after the Nigerian government through the Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa revealed that no less than 116 Nigerians have lost their lives in xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Dabiri-Erewa made the startling revelation on her visit to the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, in Abuja.

During the visit, she also sought assurances that such attacks on Nigerians be stopped, but the latest attacks shows that the lives and property of Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa are not guaranteed after all.

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