Hundreds of Nigerians took free evacuation from South Africa on Wednesday (September 11) after xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
Private Nigerian airline Air Peace which left Nigeria’s capital, Lagos on Tuesday night is set to arrive with the evacuees on Wednesday afternoon. The plane can carry about 300 passengers.
The attacks have left some Nigerians struggling to make money. Nigerian entrepreneur Basil Onuigbo saw his car dealership reduced to ashes last week.
The flare-up in violence directed against mainly African foreigners has been widely condemned by South Africa’s neighbours and has caused a diplomatic dispute between Nigeria and South Africa, the continent’s top two economies.
In the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa, deadly riots last week in Pretoria and Johannesburg killed at least 12 people including two foreigners, and targeted foreign-owned businesses.
The root causes of the latest series of attacks are unclear, although analysts suggest stubbornly high unemployment and grinding poverty were fuelling criminality.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will visit South Africa next month to address the attacks and seek a solution.