Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said a wave of deadly violence against Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa last month was an embarrassment to the continent.
In September, rioting and attacks on foreigners led to at least 10 deaths, dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests, triggering anger in Nigeria and continentally.
“Recent xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa. It was an embarrassment to the continent,” Buhari told a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in South Africa last week, according to his speech on the Nigeria presidency Twitter page.
“As a government, we are disturbed by these unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address and prevent their reoccurrence with the South African government,” he added.
Following the attacks, Buhari ordered voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians wanting to return home and around 600 people were repatriated.
Buhari met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. They regretted the violence and subsequent retaliation in Nigeria against South African businesses, pledging to deepen trade ties.
Buhari called for peace at the town hall meeting.
“The authorities expressed apologies over the incidents and resolved to take necessary steps and end this ugly trend in the interest of our relationship,” he said.
“Let us give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence.”