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Xenophobia: Angst In The Land, …MTN Closes Shop

South Africa-owned telecommunications giant, MTN, has announced the closure of all its shops in Nigeria.

This may not be unconnected with the threat by some Nigerians to reciprocate the Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

  There had been series of attack on Nigerians and their businesses in South Africa, an action which the Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said the South African government was not doing enough to quell.

The attacks by South Africans also led to an attempt by some Nigerians to raze some South Africa-owned companies in Nigeria, including MTN, Dstv and Shoprite.

In a message to its subscribers on Wednesday, MTN Nigeria announced the closure of its shops and the operation of only its online platforms.

“Yello! Our shops are unavailable today. You can reach us on Twitter- @MTN180, MTNonline.com/Livechat, chat on MyMTN App. For Call Center dial 180. Thank you,” the message read.

Meanwhile Nigerian Mission in South Africa says no Nigerian died but over 50 vehicles and other property worth millions of dollars owned by Nigerians were vandalised, burnt or stolen, in fresh attacks.

The Nigeria Consul General in Johannesburg, Mr Godwin Adama, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone conversation from Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

Adama was reacting to the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa on Aug 28 and Sept 1.

The crisis resulted to looting and burning of businesses and property belonging to foreigners and death of five people.

According to him, the situation has been tense as the attacks have been well coordinated in the various areas such as Jules Street, Jappestown, Marven, Alexandra and Turffontein.

“Several foreign owned shops were targeted but it affected Nigerians greatly; over 50 vehicles in car marts owned by Nigerians were vandalized, burnt or stolen, although few were reportedly recovered.

“As at today, the situation is calm, the only area there have been looting are the traders shops at a place called Alexandra in South Africa, where shops were looted overnight.

“This is to show you that it is not just Nigerians they have been looting, mostly foreigners that have shops and businesses in South Africa.

“These include Indians, Chinese and Pakistanis; where Indians have major malls have been locked, maybe they will open today,” he added.

He, however, said that no Nigerian was killed and that the five people that were killed died as a result of a building that was gutted by fire.

He said that most criminals seized the opportunity of the fire outbreak that occurred to loot property belonging to foreigners and as such some people were affected.

“No Nigerian has been killed, and the only thing that the criminals attacked were shops, because they may know that such shops belong to foreign nationals.

“There is a place where only two shops belonged to Nigerians out of the nine that were attacked, but there are other places where there are more Nigerian shops in Marvel or Jules Street.

“These are areas Nigerians love a lot, because we have large number of Nigerians there. So, some of the shops were burnt and even looted and they lost a lot within these areas.

“There was not attack against anybody, there was only attack on property and those property in business areas,” he said.

He said that the African National Congress (ANC) had condemned the attacks, as well as the Minister of Police Affairs, Cele Bheki, dissociating the party and government from the actions.

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