South Africa has temporarily closed its embassy in Nigeria following violence against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg, while Nigeria has announced plans to evacuate its nationals from South Africa.
South African Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday that the embassy was closed temporarily after threats led to fears for staff safety.
“There is Afrophobia we are sensing that exists, there is resentment and we need to address that,” Pandor told Reuters news agency.
Foreign ministry spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele confirmed that the diplomatic missions in the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Abuja have been closed since Wednesday.
The announcement, which signals worsening diplomatic relations between the two African countries, comes after Nigeria introduced plans to evacuate its nationals from South Africa following a wave of attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians.