The inflaming tensions between Nigeria and South Africa over the recent attacks on immigrants have called for the second flow of evacuations to take place, with over 300 Nigerians taken home by planes, AFP reported on Wednesday, September 18th.
Unable to report an exact number of those arriving, Ibrahim Farinloye, spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency, estimated that 314 had come.
Earlier this month, a total of 640 Nigerians living in South Africa had registered at Nigerian missions to take the flights offered by the airline, in an attempt to escape systematic violence that targeted foreign-owned shops and stalls, looting and burning small businesses, and attacking some of the shopkeepers, according to AP.
Upon their arrival, they were faced with cheers and a large crowd who seemed grateful for their safety.
The violence that has drastically rocked the city has claimed at least 12 lives from different nationalities, including Nigerians, Ethiopians, Congolese, and Zimbabweans, with more than 700 people arrested, based on police reports, according to local media.
South Africa, the continent's second-largest economy after Nigeria, has always embraced foreign workers; however, they often fall victims of anti-immigrant sentiment in a nation where almost one in three people are unemployed.
Earlier this week, South Africa offered a sincere apology to Nigeria over a spate of xenophobic attacks, which led to a spike in tensions between the two countries.