Nigerians and other foreign nationals resident in South Africa’s Keimoes and Upington areas of Northern Cape Province were yesterday morning given 12 hours to vacate by the indigenes.
The President of Nigeria Union in South Africa, Adetola Olubajo, made the disclosure in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos. Olubajo said the development was as a result of an ugly incident that took place on Wednesday between a police officer and a Nigerian.
He said that the Nigerian man, an indigene of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, allegedly stabbed to death the police officer, Nico Visagie, during a disagreement at 5:00 a.m.
Olubajo said the details of the disagreement were still not very clear as the major witness was also stabbed multiple times and was still in critical condition at the hospital.
“After the horrific incident, the community members of Keimoes and environs went on rampage burning and destroying properties belonging to foreign nationals, Nigerians in particular.
“These attacks spread to Upington and Nigerians and other foreign nationals were also expelled from Upington.
Prompt police intervention yesterday brought about calm but the situation is still tensed. Some locals were arrested by the police for public disturbance and malicious damage to properties.
“They appeared in a magistrates’ court this morning for a bail hearing,’’ he said.
He added that the suspect who stabbed the police officer had been arrested and would appear in court on or before next Monday.
“We commend the swift intervention of the members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the arrest of the suspect is a welcome development.
“We hope the police will continue to maintain law and order in the area,’’ Olubajo said.
Keimoes is a town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It lies on the Orange River and is about halfway between Upington and Kakamas.
There was tension in August last year following xenophobic attacks in South Africa and reprisals in Nigeria.
Many Nigerians were forced to leave the country while a diplomatic face-off was prevented between Nigeria and South Africa.
President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the country in October and both nations renewed their diplomatic ties while President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised to Nigerians.
The xenophobic attacks against Nigerians by South Africans was one of the most pertinent events that shook the nation in 2019. Although such attacks were reported earlier in the year, the attacks that took place in September further strained the relationship between both countries.
Several businesses and homes were affected due to the attacks. The most popular reason behind the attacks was that “Nigerians are taking over the economy of South Africans, and stripping the young men of their nation from the available jobs.”
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