Recently, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the government would be working with private airline Air Peace, to voluntary evacuate Nigerians affected by South Africa’s xenophobic violence. As of this morning, several buses have collected hundreds of Nigerian citizens, including women and children, and transported them to O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg for the scheduled flights back to Lagos. News24 reports that the Zimbabwean government has now announced that it is also making arrangements for Zimbabweans under threat in South Africa, to safely return home.
The Herald reports that 171 Zimbabweans have been affected by the current xenophobic attacks with two others having lost their lives. Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sibusiso Moyo, said that, “Government is deeply saddened by this occurrence and is currently in the process of making arrangements to urgently repatriate the affected citizens back home.” Moyo added that, “Meanwhile, our Consulate in South Africa is engaging some international organisations for support to the affected citizens. Government continues to monitor the situation with a view to escalating the evacuation exercise should the situation deteriorate.”
It is unclear when exactly the Zimbabwean government intends to begin the voluntary evacuation. While returning to Zimbabwe is indeed voluntary, many Zimbabweans who had left the country because of political unrest, poverty, unemployment, hyperinflation and constant food and fuel shortages, are now being forced to leave the very country they’d hoped would improve their situation.
While there has been a ton of fake news being circulated on social media, of the twelve deaths that have been confirmed and verified by mainstream South African media, ten of them have actually been South Africans. In addition to those who have lost their lives, the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of foreign nationals from all over Africa have been affected by the xenophobic violence in Johannesburg.