South African businesses shut stores in Nigeria and Zambia

Shoprite store
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South African businesses, MTN and Shoprite, closed stores in Nigeria on Wednesday after their facilities came under attack.

The stores were attacked in retaliation after days of riots in South Africa targeting foreign-owned, including Nigerian, businesses.

The Nigerian division of telecom operator, MTN, said it will shut all stores and service centres in the country until further notice.

Other African countries from Ghana to Ethiopia and the African Union have called on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action.

Citizens from across the continent voiced their anger on social media, with some threatening retaliation.

Supermarket chain Shoprite said several stores in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia were closed and extensive damage had been done to several supermarkets over the past 24 hours.

Immigration to South Africa from across Africa and from parts of southeast Asia picked up in the early 1990s, spurred by the end of apartheid rule and the economic boom that followed.

But in recent years, attacks against foreign-owned businesses have become a regular occurrence as frustration mounts over high rates of unemployment, currently around 29%, the highest level in a decade.

Hundreds of University of Zambia students dressed mostly in black and chanting “No Violence” protested outside the South African High Commission against the attacks on foreigners on Wednesday.

On Tuesday , the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) called off the country’s friendly soccer international against South Africa in Lusaka on Saturday , citing “prevailing security concerns in South Africa.”

Police have yet to pinpoint what triggered the violence in South Africa, which began on Sunday  when protesters armed with makeshift weapons roamed the streets of Pretoria’s business district, pelting shops with rocks and petrol bombs and looting.

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