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South Africa closes embassy in Nigeria after xenophobic violence

South Africa has temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria following reprisal attacks by Nigerians triggered by xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Between Sunday and Wednesday, mobs looted and destroyed shops, many of them foreign-owned, in South Africa’s commercial hub, Johannesburg.

Nigeria’s government has been outspoken in its condemnation of the violence.

Police say the unrest has subsided and more than 420 arrests have been made.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, called the violence an embarrassment for her country.

“Our government regrets all violence against foreign-owned stores or Africans from other countries who are resident in South Africa,” she was quoted as saying by national broadcaster SABC.

She ordered the closure of the country’s high commission in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and its mission in Lagos, following threats made to the diplomatic staff.

Have any Nigerians been killed?

Videos and images that have been shared on social media purporting to show Nigerians being attacked and killed have inflamed tensions.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, South African-owned businesses were targeted by protesters in several Nigerian cities, and the looters said the attacks were reprisals for the killing of Nigerians in South Africa. South African telecoms giant MTN closed its shops as a precaution.

-bbc

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