05.09.2019 Nigeria

Airline owner offers to 'evacuate' Nigerians from S.Africa

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The owner of a Nigerian airline has offered to airlift Nigerians from South Africa following a spate of xenophobic attacks on migrants there, the foreign ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement late Wednesday that Allen Onyema, the proprietor of Air Peace, had volunteered to send a plane "to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria free of charge" on Friday.

It advised those interested in the offer to liaise with Nigeria embassy in South Africa to make the "necessary arrangement."

Telephone calls to the embassy on Friday were not answered. Air Peace, the nation's largest commercial carrier, which operates on local and international routes, was not immediately available for comment.

Seven people were killed and almost 300 arrested in three days of attacks on foreign-owned businesses in South Africa.

The wave of violence, which was concentrated in Johannesburg, ended after police stepped up security.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as from South Asia and Nigeria.

Foreigners in the country have been accused of taking jobs away from South Africans -- nearly one South African worker in three is unemployed.

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