Renewed attacks on Nigerians in South Africa on Thursday claimed the life of one person and left five others injured in Polokwane, Limpopo Province of South Africa. The attack which was carried out in broad daylight by a mob was said to be connected to alleged involvement of the victims in drugs deals.
However, the Nigerian Acting High Commissioner to South Africa Martin’s Cobhams, who had since registered Nigeria’s grievances with the South African foreign affairs ministry over the attacks on her citizens, insisted that nobody, has a right to take the law into his hands. Cobhams said he also registered Nigeria’s displeasure with the police over their inability to curtail the violence.
Speaking with THISDAY on telephone from Pretoria last night, he said: “I can confirm that a Nigerian, Razak Ajao, an auto mechanic, was killed and four others injured during a mob attack against foreigners in Polokwane, Limpopo Province of South Africa today (Thursday). The Nigerian mission has formally registered a protest to the South African ministry of foreign affairs on this sad incident. The ministry said they would get back to the mission and that is the situation we are now. The mission has also reported the attacks to the South African police. Meanwhile, the mission is meeting with officials of Nigeria Union on the incident to decide on next line of action. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.”
Cobham said that two of the injured Nigerians have been treated and discharged while the others are still receiving treatment in the hospital.
Some reports say trouble started when some South Africans swooped on Nigerians who were having a meeting at the neighborhood. “They had a meeting on Tuesday and today (Thursday) was supposed to be a follow up. It was at the peak of the meeting that the South African taxi drivers suddenly emerged from nowhere and swooped on them,” the report said.
The report said the mob accused Nigerians of peddling drugs and began to attack them with dangerous weapons which eventually led to the death of a Nigerian while many others were seriously injured. Another report from Smart Onwubiko, spokesperson of Ohanaeze Indigbo who stated that Nigerians have been under attack for the past two days, added that the angry mob stopped taxis along the way in search of Nigerians. He called on the government to act urgently in order to save their lives.
Only last month, a high powered delegation from Nigeria met with the government of South Africa to find lasting solution to the issue of xenophobic attack on foreigners living in South Africa. The meeting which was adjudged as highly successful, however, is being threatened by this latest attack.