Nigeria to start evacuating its citizens from South Africa

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Looters run off an alleged foreign-owned shop in Turffontein in Johannesburg on Monday. PHOTO | CNN

Nigeria will on Wednesday begin to evacuate hundreds of it citizens from Johannesburg in South Africa following a series of xenophobic attacks.

The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 313 citizens are expected in Lagos at 2pm local time.

“640 Nigerian nationals have been registered at the Nigerian Missions in South Africa and the first batch will be evacuated today, Wednesday, 11th September, 2019,” the ministry said on Twitter.

They will be received by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The government further announced that the second batch will be evacuated on Thursday or Friday.

The unrest in Johannesburg which began last week has seen the attackers looting and torching cars.

Most of the business targeted in the attacks are owned by immigrants from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia and Kenya.

A Nigerian real estate firm, Landwey Investment has since offered free flights for those who want to return home.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu BuharI expressed concerns over what he termed as “intermittent violence” against its citizens in South Africa and called on the country’s government to take steps to end it.

Nigeria recalled its ambassador to South Africa while some of its citizens retaliated by looting and destroying some South African-owned brands.

On Sunday, two people were killed, and 16 others were arrested in fresh riots that erupted as looters targeted shops in a business district in Johannesburg.

President Buhari is scheduled to visit to South Africa in October.

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Source: citizentv