Police guarding MTN offices in Nigeria

Police guarding MTN offices in Nigeria

Members of the Nigerian community have raised concerns over the ongoing attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in Pretoria West, asking the South African government to handle the situation before it gets out of hand, reports Al Jazeera.

Angry residents in South Africa's Gauteng province have looted and set alight buildings and businesses believed to be run by foreigners as drug dens or brothels.

The president also said South Africans are not xenophobic, and he called on everyone, citizens and non-citizens, to work together to combat the country's high crime rate. "In the midst of all were some criminals who seized the opportunity to steal some customers' phones and other things", a witness who craved anonymity said.

Police had to use tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to try to disperse the groups.

South Africa police spokeswoman Brigadier Mathapelo Peters added that the destroyed shops were being used to sell drugs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its response, expressed concerns about the attacks of foreigners, including Nigerians, in South Africa.

South African Government has assured that it will continue to collaborate with major stakeholders in Nigeria to find lasting solution to xenophobic attack of Nigerians in South Africa.

More than a quarter of the South African population is unemployed, and protesters have blamed foreigners for taking local jobs.

Nigeria is becoming increasingly concerned with the safety of its citizens living in South Africa, estimated to be around 800,000.

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"They are arrogant and they don't know how to talk to people", the petition said, singling out Nigerians.

There have been recorded cases of attacks on non-South Africans in recent times.

Aruna said that the protest will also serve as a warning to other countries trying to underrate Nigerians.

Two years ago, similar xenophobic unrest in the cities of Johannesburg and Durban claimed seven lives as African immigrants were hunted down and attacked by gangs.

"At the same time, we can not close our eyes to the concerns of the communities that most of the crimes such as drug dealing, prostitution and human trafficking are allegedly perpetuated by foreign nationals", Zuma said in a statement.

"This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria", a senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in an emailed statement.

In 2008, South Africa experienced its worst bout of xenophobic violence, which left 62 people dead.

He also urged political leaders visiting the affected areas not to say the wrong things.

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