Zambia Warns Citizens Over South Africa Xenophobic Attacks
Zambian authorities on Thursday issued a warning to citizens intending to travel or residing in South Africa to exercise caution in the wake of attacks on foreign nationals.
The country’s embassy in South Africa issued a statement following attacks that have targeted foreign nationals, especially Africans.
Over the weekend, 30 shops belonging to foreigners were looted and burnt down in a Pretoria township.
“Zambians who travel to or reside in South Africa are urged to register with the Zambia High Commission to make it easier for the Mission to contact them in case of emergency,” a statement issued by the embassy said.
“We would, therefore, wish to advise Zambians in South Africa to pay close attention to their personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible risk areas,” it added.
While acknowledging that no Zambians have been attacked yet, the statement added that the embassy has received numerous calls from citizens expressing anxiety and fear for their safety.
NAN reports that the Federal Government has called on the African Union (AU) to intervene in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, made the call in Abuja on Monday.
Dabiri-Erewa also called on the South African Government to take decisive measures to protect Nigerians and others in the country.
She described the renewed attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa as a setback.
“The Nigerian Community in South Africa led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
“The union has reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police.
“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a Church have been looted and burned by South Africans,” Dabir-Erewa quoted Anyene as saying.
Dabiri-Erewa, however, urged Nigerians in South Africa to exercise restraint and warned that further attacks on Nigerians without any reprimand would not be tolerated.
She said that the attention of the AU was being called to intervene because information had it that there would be another xenophobic attack against foreigners on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” she said.
Dabiri-Erewa had two weeks ago met with South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni on the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
Aaron-Mnguni then promised that the South African Government was investigating the matter.
“We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed, this is unacceptable to the people and Government of Nigeria, Dabiri-Erewa said.(Xinhua/NAN)