Hundreds of Nigerians repatriated from South Africa after attacks

Free airlifting

Xenophobic Attacks

In the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa, deadly riots last week in Pretoria and Johannesburg killed at least 12 people and targeted foreign-owned businesses.

Aside Air Peace's offer, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced Monday that his government had also made arrangements for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians.

Commercial Nigerian airline, Air Peace, says it plans to operate two flights with Boeing 777 aircraft for the job of evacuating as many Nigerians as possible. Presidential aide, Abike Dabiri-Erewa also confirmed that 640 Nigerians signed up to take the free flights from South Africa to Nigeria after the attacks.

"On Sunday, I didn't come to the shop because I was very scared. I don't want to lose my life", one Nigerian told eNCA, a South African television news network, at the O.R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg.

Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama called the attacks "sickening", and the government recalled its High Commissioner to South Africa and boycotted a high-profile meeting of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town last week.

It's not the first time South Africa has witnessed xenophobic violence.

And retaliatory attacks in Nigeria forced South African businesses there to shut down for several days.

South Africa does not know how many undocumented foreigners are in the country of 58 million people.

Almost 200 nationals were lifted to Nigeria from South Africa because of increasing xenophobic attacks. Congo, Bangladesh and Ethiopia topped the list of countries where people applied for asylum or refugee status in 2018. He said the "most significant negative impact is around sentiment" as MTN investors around the world called him anxious about the images they were seeing on TV.

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