South Africa closes embassy in Nigeria after xenophobic violence

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On Wednesday, South African companies MTN and Shoprite closed stores in Nigeria after retaliatory attacks, and threats of reprisals forced Pretoria to shut its embassy in Abuja, its foreign minister said.

"After receiving reports and threats from some of the Nigerians we chose to temporarily close while we are assessing the situation", South African foreign ministry spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said.

"(The ministry) asks the South African authorities to ensure the safety of all foreigners living in South Africa", it said in a statement.

The same reaction occurred in Nigeria, where violent demonstrations took place in Abuja and Lagos, where protesters attacked South African brands.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo's second city of Lubumbashi, residents protested outside the South African consulate and a South African-owned shop was looted, witnesses told Reuters on Thursday.

Nigerian police say security has been ordered for foreign missions, foreigners and their businesses across Nigeria.

"This is the moment to show commitment to our citizens and show sympathy to those who have lost their loved one by boycotting South African goods and businesses beginning with Nigerians refusing from today to use MTN services".

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"We applaud the South African Government for their swift intervention to end the violence and bring the perpetrators to book". There has been a widespread wave of Afrophobia in a number of African countries after it was started by South Africans.

On Tuesday, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) called off the country's friendly soccer worldwide against South Africa in Lusaka, citing "prevailing security concerns in South Africa".

"The general public is hereby advised to inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage of this laudable gesture", Nigerian foreign ministry spokesman Ferdinand Nwonye said on Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had hoped the World Economic Forum summit would serve as a shop window for his efforts to revive South Africa's ailing economy and boost intra-African trade.

Immigration to South Africa from Africa and parts of south-east Asia picked up in the early 1990s, spurred by the end of apartheid and the economic boom that followed.

Violence against migrant business operators has gripped South Africa in recent days.

The high commissioner stated in an interview with Starr FM that the tag of Xenophobia on South Africans was unfair and would rather relate it to criminal acts perpetrated by poverty and unemployment stricken South Africans.

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