To quell the mounting xenophobic attacks in South Africa, the South African government has deployed troops to the most volatile spots in the country’s capitals, Johannesburg and Durban.
South Africa’s Defence minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said the deployment of the troops is the “last resort” and will serve as a deterrent to the attackers.
“There are people who will be critical, but those who are vulnerable will appreciate this decision. Now we are deploying because there is an emergency,” Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula
“We are not here to take over the work of the police. We are simply here to give support to what the police are trying to do in their efforts to prevent a continuation of what we have seen.”
She said, “South Africans now know… even those who probably did not take it seriously know that… we need to stand up.”
“This is not too late, this is just the right time.” She added.
Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula did not indicate how many soldiers were deployed to the areas.
Migrants from other African countries have been attacked by South Africans over the past three weeks after a Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, in an inciting speech, called for foreigners to leave the country.
The South Africans say African foreigners are “stealing” their jobs.
Scores of African foreigners have been killed with countries like Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique organising for some citizens to return home.
Although Nigerian officials have said no Nigerian has been killed, they say property have been lost.
Some Nigerians, in protest, marched to the South African High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, seeking immediate end to the killings and positive measures to avoid re-occurrence.
At the protest, Deji Adeyanju, one of the organizers of the protest, told PREMIUM TIMES he felt empathy for the people being attacked. He said pictures distributed on social media suggest that security operatives in South Africa were aiding the killings.
He called on the South African government to stop the killings immediately.