South Africa said on Thursday September 5th, it has closed its diplomatic missions in the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos following violence against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg, AFP has reported.
"After receiving reports and threats from some of the Nigerians, we decided to close temporarily while we are assessing the situation," foreign ministry spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said, adding that the missions were shut on Wednesday.
"So, we will be monitoring the situation and when we see it is necessary to open, we will re-open," Ngqengelele said.
The decision to suspend operations at the two missions was made after "a group of people ... came and tried to force themselves in" at the Lagos consulate. "It was on that basis that we felt we needed to protect the employees and shut it down" he said.
The two countries stepped up security on Wednesday after deadly attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg led to reprisals against South African businesses in Nigerian cities.
Diplomatic tensions have risen between South Africa and Nigeria, after the latter declared it would boycott the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, which was due to be attended by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
On Tuesday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari responded to the ongoing attacks, saying he will send an envoy to convey his displeasure to President Cyril Ramaphosa.