Xenophobia attacks: Protesters besiege MTN Abuja office

The Government of Ghana has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Lulu Xingwana, to assure it of the safety of Ghanaians in South Africa in the wake of vicious xenophobic attacks on Africans in that country.

Gigaba said that South African authorities were in talks with organisers of Friday's march, and that the police would ensure there was no violence.

The Nigerian government stepped in, demanding that their be a stop to the "xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, other Africans and Pakistanis".

But this comment did not go down well with readers who pounced on him with angry responses.

Earlier, they vandalised the head office of mobile giant MTN in Abuja, in retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in Gauteng. But when The Guardian sent him a text message asking him to confirm the attack on his office, Aina rather referred the reporter to their spokesman in South Africa, saying, "Thank you for your interest in our organisation, and your continued support".

Attacks against foreigners and foreign-run businesses have erupted regularly in recent years in South Africa, fuelled by the country's high unemployment and poverty levels.

"We are not going to kill like them and that is why we have asked their citizens to leave, but we will sure destroy their businesses", NANS president Aruna Kadiri told Reuters. "They ought to have intervened, it shouldn't have come this far", said Abuja resident, Oladapo John.

As well as holding regular meetings, the parish groups respond when concerns are raised that xenophobic violence "is about to flare up and take action to prevent this", Mafinyori said.

"MTN requests people to exercise restraint and remain calm", the network operator said.

Mnguni stated this yesterday while receiving the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani in Abuja.

"Foreign nationals are not our enemy", Mr Mashaba said in a condemnation this week of the attacks, which he called "an unfortunate misdirection of the community's demand for safety and jobs".

He said that "in spite of this, the South African Government had benefited immensely from the economic activities of foreigners". According to Nigerian press, the country's consul to SA visited Nigerians who have suffered from the attacks recently. Nigeria is a major component in the struggle against apartheid.

"These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback", he said.

  • Joanne Flowers