Kenyans among foreigners targeted in South Africa attacks

Wednesday September 04 2019

Kenyans are among victims of arson, looting and physical attacks in the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Kenyan High Commissioner to South Africa Jean Kamau on Wednesday confirmed that several Kenyans had been attacked in Gauteng Province.

South African police have arrested 189 people following several days of fresh xenophobic violence in Pretoria and Johannesburg in Gauteng as well as in other cities.

At least five people have been killed during the sporadic violence against foreign-owned businesses.


Ms Kamau has asked Kenyans living and running enterprises in the troubled regions to cooperate with the police and report all incidents.


“The Kenya High Commission has since reached out to the affected individuals and encouraged them to respond to the instructions and calls by the South African police to report and open files regarding all [incidents],” a statement from the ambassador based in Pretoria reads.

“Kenyan community members in South Africa are asked to ensure that they work with their local diaspora leaders to monitor the situation and take measures to safeguard their security. All must remain vigilant and aware of their environment,” Ms Kamau added.


Sporadic violence against foreign-owned stores and enterprises has a long history in South Africa, where many locals blame immigrants for high unemployment.

The authorities have been struggling to contain a nationwide surge of anti-foreigner sentiment that flared up in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Mobs descended on business hubs and townships in various parts of the country, looting dozens of shops and torching trucks driven by foreigners.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a video address broadcast on Twitter, said the attacks are "something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa."

"I want it to stop immediately," he said, adding that the violence had "no justification."


Nigeria has summoned its South African ambassador to express "displeasure over the treatment of her citizens" and said it would dispatch a special envoy.

Zambia has cancelled an international friendly football match which was slated for Lusaka next weekend against South Africa.

African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki condemned the violence "in the strongest terms" but said he was encouraged "by arrests already made by the South African authorities".

-Additional reporting by AFP.