Nigerians claim ‘revenge attack’ in SA
Nigerian deportees were allegedly beaten up last month at Krugersdorp’s Lindela Repatriation Centre as revenge for the collapse of pastor TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church for All Nations in Lagos.
The Nigerian Voice newspaper, based in Pretoria, reported this week about 19 Nigerians were attacked at Lindela on September 20.
A team from the Nigerian diplomatic mission to South Africa visited the centre after witnesses told it about the attacks.
A report by the team states: “The affected Nigerians also alleged that while the security men were unleashing mayhem on them, one of the security men [known as Mr Mike] was heard shouting [that] they were going to kill Nigerians in retaliation [for] the South Africans who were killed when the guesthouse of the Synagogue Church collapsed in Lagos.”
The report has been given to the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria.
The team said the incident began with an argument between a Nigerian and a Tanzanian who were being detained at Lindela. It said: “The development, which attracted the attention of the private security outfit at the facility, only worsened when they were alleged to have taken side(s) against Nigerians.
“They were reported to have beaten and shot some Nigerians with rubber bullets, resulting in broken heads and limbs.”
The paper interviewed someone who was visiting Lindela at the time who supported the version of events by the team.
Lindela employs guards from private securitygroupBosasa. Itisclaimed these guards attacked the Nigerians. Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leshabane confirmed the incident. “Our security at Lindela was responding to a situation that involved the Nigerian nationals and the Tanzanians. The Nigerian nationals were assaulting a Tanzanian, accusing him of stealing from one of their own,” he said.
“Security intervened and the Nigerian nationals started assaulting the security officers leaving them with no option but to secure themselves, the Tanzanians and the property.”
South Africa’s international relations and cooperation department referred all questions to the home affairs department, which said it was not aware of any incident.
AK Balogun, senior consul at the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria, said he and his colleagues were “not happy about the issue”.
“We are awaiting a final report and are going through the right channels to address the issue.”
– The Nigerian Voice