• 12 Nigerians, Ghanaians thrown into Meditteranean sea
• Reps ask FG to recall envoy
Foreigners in South Africa have been warned of possible massive attacks on them today by their xenophobic hosts.
Relatedly, a row among illegal migrants on a boat from Libya to Italy resulted in “multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate,” the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Thursday.
Fifteen Muslim migrants sports were arrested for throwing their Christian fellow migrants from Nigeria and Ghana into the Mediterranean sea. The Muslims are from Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali and Guinea.
Leaflets making the rounds in South Africa warned of a planned massive attack today. On Thursday, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to recall the Nigerian envoy from South Africa in view of the ongoing xenophobic attacks on foreigners by citizens of the former apartheid country. On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, pledged that the Nigerian government would spare no effort in protecting all Nigerians in South Africa.
South Africans have unleashed a reign of terror on foreigners whom they blame for unemployment and their economic woes. There are fears that at least four Nigerians, among tens of other African nationals, have been killed by the South African mobs who also loot shops belonging to foreigners. However, Wali insisted that no Nigerian has been killed yet.
One of the leaflets, released by the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), read: “African Diaspora Forum. Tomorrow (Friday) is D-Day for all foreign nationals. South Africans are planning a massive attack like never before! They will be stopping taxis and beating up all foreign nationals found. Help combat it by sending this message to all your contacts. Act NOW and FAST!!! The lives of our fellow Africans is at stake. ANCYL.” Yet another leaflet by the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) read:
“Alert! Alert There are South Africans who came to attack migrants in JHB (Johannesburg) CBD – Central Business District – (Bree street, President cnr Pritchard).” It read further: “They (the attackers) noticed that they are (were) few and migrants are (were) in numbers and ready to face them.” It disclosed that tension was rising, and advised foreigners not to move near Johannesburg. It read:
“Police presence is there. We receive another report from Kesington of South Africans attacking migrants already. Warn Migrants not to go now in town (JHB).” The House of Representatives asked the executive to urgently recall Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa.
The directive followed a resolution passed when lawmakers adopted a motion of urgent matter of public importance moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora Matters, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on the xenophobic attacks on Africans by South Africans.
Passing the resolution, the House noted that the attacks which had left many foreigners dead, resulted in the closure of their businesses and looting of their shops, was roused to action by a statement attributed to the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, who was said to have asked African migrants to return to their countries as they were no longer welcome in South Africa.
The lawmakers’ resolution read: “Nigeria frowns at the attacks and will no longer tolerate the killing of its nationals in South Africa. President Goodluck Jonathan must immediately convey this to President Jacob Zuma as a matter of urgency.”
“Nigeria should recall its high commissioner from South Africa pending when the attacks will stop,” the House also resolved.
The lawmakers asked the Federal Government to apply the diplomatic principle of reciprocity in dealing with South Africa, adding that if South Africa or its nationals continue to frustrate Nigerian businesses, Nigeria must also do the same to South African businesses here.
The BBC reported Italian police as saying that they had arrested the Muslim migrants for allegedly throwing the 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to Italy.
The Christian migrants were all feared dead.
In a separate incident, more than 40 people drowned after another migrant boat sank between Libya and Italy.
Almost 10,000 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean have been rescued in recent days. Italy has called for more help from the European Union to handle the crisis.
More than 500 people from Africa and the Middle East have died making the perilous crossing since the start of the year. Earlier this week, 400 people were believed to have drowned when their boat capsized.
The 15 Muslim migrants involved in the row with Christians were arrested in the Sicilian city of Palermo.
The suspects were among 105 migrants travelling in an inflatable boat that left Libya on Tuesday.
Eyewitnesses told police how the altercation resulted in Christians being thrown overboard, and that some of the survivors had formed human chains to avoid a similar
Also on Thursday, the Italian navy plucked four survivors – a Ghanaian, two Nigerians, and a man from Niger – from the sea. They said their inflatable boat had sunk after leaving Libya with 45 people on board.