The African Union on Tuesday condemned
in “the strongest terms,” the outbreak of violent attacks on migrants from other African countries in South Africa.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat condemns in the strongest terms, the incidents of violence against nationals of fellow African countries in South Africa, including the looting and destruction of their property,” a release from the African Union stated.
The Chairperson is encouraged by arrests already made by the South African authorities, it said.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Monday said 91 people had been arrested in and around Johannesburg over the past two days amidst a spate of violence and looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.
However, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has described the attackers as mindless criminals, noting that the police intervention was ineffective.
The AUC chair has called for “further immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, to ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts, and justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses.”
He equally reiterated the “African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to the despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity.”
A spate of violence that broke out in suburbs south of Johannesburg’s city center on Sunday and spread to the central business district on Monday saw the destruction of more than 50 shops and business premises mainly owned by Africans such as Nigerians and Somalians. Cars and properties were torched and widespread looting took place.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is the incoming chairman of the African Union.