Xenophobia: South African Catholics blasts government for downplaying attack against Nigerians

Xenophobia: South African Catholics blasts government for downplaying attack against Nigerians

- Buti Tigagal condemned the attack against Nigerians in South Africa

- The South African archbishop described the attack as xenophobia and that the government needs to do more in protecting foreigners

- The religious cleric said the attack was similar to the hatred that occoured in Germany

Catholic bishops in South Africa have lashed out at the government for saying the attack against Nigeria was carried out by a few criminal elements.

Buti Tigagale who is the South African Catholic archbishop in a statement on Saturday, September 7 said what happened in the country could only be described as xenophobia.

The archbishop said no arrests were made while Nigerian businesses were being attacked and looted.

He said: “Once again we receive reports of the authorities doing very little to protect the victims. We received report of police standing by idly in Pretoria while shops were looted and people attacked. Not a single arrest was made on that day.

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“Once again the authorities resort to the old explanation: that this is not xenophobia, but the work of criminal elements.

“Let us be absolutely clear – this is not an attempt by concerned South Africans to rid our cities of drug dealers. And this is not the work of a few criminal elements. It is xenophobia, plain and simple.”

The religious cleric said if the attack had been against drug, all those involved should have been attacked including those of South African origin.

He said: “If it was about drugs, why are South African drug dealers not being targeted as well? Are we really to believe that there are none? And why are drug addicts who rob people in our city centres to get money to buy drugs not being targeted? If it is the work of a few criminal elements, why are South African owned businesses not being looted as well?

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“The teaching of the Church is direct and uncompromising. More than 80% of South Africans claim to be Christian. What are our religious leaders teaching the multitudes that fill our churches every Sunday? Galatians 3:28 says: 'There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus'.

”By the same token, there is neither South African nor Nigerian nor Ethiopian. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

“Let us take heed of this. We are facing a rising tide of hatred and intolerance, no different to the rising tide of hatred in Nazi Germany. If we do not take urgent action to stop it, there will be nothing left.”

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Meanwhile, the Nigerian government denied reports that at least one explosion has rocked the South African embassy in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

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The denial was issued by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement signed by his media aide Segun Adeyemi on Saturday, September 7.

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