Protesters on Thursday smashed the windows of the South African consulate in DR Congo’s second largest city and attacked South African-owned stores, in reprisal for attacks on foreigners in Johannesburg, an AFP reporter saw.
A demonstration called by a campaign group outside the consulate in Lubumbashi, southeastern DR Congo, spiralled out of control and protesters smashed the building’s windows.
They then attacked and looted a store owned by the South African retail group Mr Price before police intervened, injuring one or two protesters.
The campaign group Lucha tweeted its disapproval.
“You do not condemn violence by violence! We call on the police to stop the looters, without using excessive/legal force,” it said.
Attacks broke out in and around Johannesburg this week, leaving seven dead and dozens of shops destroyed, mostly foreign-owned. More than 350 people have been arrested.
Foreign workers are often victims of anti-immigrant sentiment in South Africa, where they compete against locals for jobs, particularly in low-skilled industries.
The violence has led to angry demonstrations in Nigeria and expressions of concern in countries around southern Africa, many of whom have citizens working in South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy.
The attacks on foreign-owned stores in South Africa have prompted fury in the continent’s other major economic power, Nigeria.
South African businesses have been targeted in reprisal attacks in Nigerian cities, and South Africa on Thursday shut its diplomatic missions in Lagos and Abuja as a security measure.
Nigerians have taken to the internet to express anger over the violence, with Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister and prominent commentator, whipping up fears about the “mass murder of Nigerians”.
On Monday, Fani-Kayode posted a Facebook video showing what he said was a South African minister “subtly trying to justify the killing of Nigerians”.
While the video did show former deputy police minister Bongani Mkongi complaining about immigration, it was filmed back in 2017 and Mkongi is no longer minister.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama on Wednesday warned that misleading social media posts were fanning the tensions, stressing that no Nigerians are among the seven people killed.
“No Nigerian life has been lost during this crisis,” he told reporters.
“And I think that is very important because on social media, there is a lot of stories going around of Nigerians being killed, jumping off buildings and being burnt. This is not the case.”
He added: “What we know in that premises, shops of Nigerians have been looted and property destroyed.”