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South Africa president sends special envoy to apologize to Nigeria over xenophobic violence against Nigerian citizens and other foreign nationals in that country

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South Africa president Cyril Ramphosa dispatched a special envoy to the Nigerian capital Abuja, who apologized to Nigeria over xenophobic violence visited on her citizens resident in South Africa
Foreign workers in South Africa have become victims of anti-immigrant attacks with at least 12 killed
The violence sparked an international outcry and calls for a boycott of South Africa
The violence prompted reprisal attacks against South African firms in Nigeria and the temporary closure of South Africa’s diplomatic missions in Lagos and Abuja.

Following the violence, Nigeria announced it would repatriate more than 600 nationals to protect them from future violence

Besides the hundreds of Nigerians returning to their home country, more than 700 people from other countries, including Malawi and Zimbabwe, sought refuge in South African community centers
Many left their homes with little more than a few bags when the attacks began

The South African envoy to President Cyril Ramaphosa apologized “profusely” to the Nigerian government after a spate of deadly xenophobic attacks that rocked Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Jeff Radebe was in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to attend a meeting on Monday to convey “sincerest apologies about the incident that has recently transpired in South Africa”.
“The incident does not represent what we stand for,” Radebe said, adding South African police would “leave no stone unturned, that those involved must be brought to book”.
The Nigerian government said in a statement following the meeting: “President [Muhammadu] Buhari responded to profuse apologies from the South African president, pledging that relationship between the two countries will be solidified.”Foreign workers in South Africa – the continent’s second-largest economy after Nigeria – are often victims of anti-immigrant sentiment in a nation where almost one-third of people are unemployed.
At least 12 people were killed in recent weeks after 1,000 foreign-owned business were targeted.
The violence prompted reprisal attacks against South African firms in Nigeria and the temporary closure of South Africa’s diplomatic missions in Lagos and Abuja.
The violence sparked an international outcry and calls for a boycott of South Africa.
Following the violence, Nigeria announced it would repatriate more than 600 nationals to protect them from future violence.
Besides the hundreds of Nigerians returning to their home country, more than 700 people from other countries, including Malawi and Zimbabwe, sought refuge in South African community centers.
Many left their homes with little more than a few bags when the attacks began.
In 2008, at least 62 people, including South Africans, were killed in violence and looting targeting foreign-owned stores.

Nigeria repartriates her citizens from South Africa 1.jpgNigeria returnees from SA disembark in Nigeria carrying placards denouncing xenophobia
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari [right], receives a Special Envoy from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa at the State House, in Abuja 2
“President [Muhammadu] Buhari responded to profuse apologies from the South African president, delivered via his special envoy, [Jeff Radebe], pledging that relationship between the two countries will be solidified.” Nigerian government said in a statement following the meeting

Government of Nigeria

@NigeriaGov

President @MBuhari received a Special Envoy from President @CyrilRamaphosa of South Africa at the State House, Abuja.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari [white traditional outfit], receives a Special Envoy from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa at the State House, in Abuja 3

Monday’s apology to Nigeria followed remarks Ramaphosa delivered earlier in the day in which he said that immigrants must not be made “scapegoats” for the current slow pace of the country’s economy, local media reported.
“Immigrants must not be turned into scapegoats, nor must we take our legitimate frustrations on the slow pace of economic and social reform out on immigrants who have come to our country,” Ramaphosa was quoted by the IOL news website as saying while addressing the 14th National Congress of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union at the Durban International Convention Center.

Cyril Ramaphosa 2.jpg“This nation knows all too well what intolerance and discrimination brings, and we will not inflict such trauma on anyone else,” SA president, Cyril Ramphosa

“This nation knows all too well what intolerance and discrimination brings, and we will not inflict such trauma on anyone else,” he added.
“The people of Zimbabwe, in unison, expressed their unhappiness against South Africans, and they saw me as representing all of us in South Africa. The whole stadium booed me. It was only after I said I regret what happened in this country that they then responded positively,” he noted in reference to an incident that took place while he was delivering a speech during late Zimbabwean Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s funeral service Saturday in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
“I have apologized on your behalf, and I hope it sinks into our consciousness,” Ramaphosa continued, according to the IOL website.
He added that South Africa’s image had been “negatively affected” in the eyes of the international community, stressing that his country would have to work hard to reverse perceptions, according to the same source.

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