Xenophobic Attacks: South Africa Arrests Nigerian Returnees At Tambo Airport

Image via Investors King

There are reports that South African Immigration is frustrating the departure of Nigerian returnees scheduled to leave the country today following xenophobic attacks on African immigrants.

Air Peace had arrived OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg around 4:00 am on Wednesday as scheduled.

However, Nigerian High Commission in Johannesburg couldn’t secure the exit of all the 320 cleared returnees as South African Immigration started arresting Nigerians who were due to travel and accusing them of travelling without papers despite having their documents issued by the Nigerian embassy.

Only 182 Nigerians out of the 320 that were cleared and scheduled to depart South Africa today eventually left for Nigeria, according to a source at the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.

“South Africa is frustrating Nigeria. The Air Peace aircraft has been there since 4:00 am. Immigration started giving our High Commission problems. They said some Nigerians didn’t have papers. Immigration is arresting them, asking them to explain how they came to South Africa,” a source at the embassy said.

“About five minutes ago, only 182 Nigerians were allowed to board the flight while the rest are being barred by South African Immigration. They are frustrating the Nigerian High Commission, taking the passengers away. They want to frustrate the airline and the Nigerian government.

“Our High Commission is having a tough time with the South African government. They are stopping and arresting Nigerians, saying they should explain how they came into the country.”

Another person familiar with the situation said: “The aircraft has been burning fuel since 4:00 am. They are not happy that Nigeria is evacuating its citizens and that a Nigerian airline is involved in evacuating them.”