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Gov’t Urged To Protect Cameroonians In S. Africa 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

A concerned Cameroonian youth leader and activist, Elvis Ndasi, has strongly condemned acts of xenophobia currently rocking some cities in South Africa.

Ndasi was speaking at a press conference in Yaounde on April 18 against what he described as
a “shocking strange phenomenon that erupted in the South African city of Durban, wherein, residents accusing immigrants of taking their jobs and committing crimes, launched an attack on foreigners, mostly the black, burning and looting their shops.

He said the violence that led to the death of five persons including a 14-year-old boy continued and, as at April 17, the violence had extended to Johannesburg with looting, burning of shops and molestation of immigrants.

According to Ndasi, “for many Africans, South Africa represents a land of opportunities and a haven of tolerance, but the wave of violence has tarnished this image…” He stated that the situation is extremely dangerous to foreigners living in that country, for there are fears that the attacks would extend to other parts of the country.

Ndasi, who captioned his preliminary presentation as “National mobilisation against xenophobia in South Africa,” recalled that on April 16, there was a big rally against the violent attacks in Durban and condemnation from President Jacob Zuma who called for peace and calm, yet the violence has not subsided as many shops belonging to foreigners have been razed and many families of immigrants tortured.

“It is estimated that over 8,500 foreigners have fled to refugee centres or police stations and more have moved to seek refuge with friends or relatives in cities not yet hit by the acts of xenophobia,” Ndasi stated. He quoted President Zuma as having declared that: “No amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.”

Maintaining that many African States have expressed their readiness to help their nationals return home, Ndasi mentioned Zimbabwe that will assist about 1,000 of its citizens to come back home this week. He added that Malawi has called for a boycott of South African business empires.

“While other African countries have made strong statements condemning these acts and taken measures to assure the security of their nationals, it is embarrassing that Cameroon has remained mute, despite the fact that over 1,000 of its nationals are immigrants in South Africa and are exposed to these attacks,” Ndasi averred.
He talked of Cameroonians in South Africa who have been keen to get any message of hope and assurance of safety from their Government to no avail.

“I have received calls from many Cameroonian youths in Durban who say their lives are not safe and that they cannot even get any message from the Cameroon High Commission as to any orientation they can take for their safety,” the youth leader told the press.

He recalled the several street demonstrations some few weeks ago that Cameroonians staged to show their support for the defence and security forces in the fight against Boko Haram. According to Ndasi, the move got the support of all because the country and its citizens were under attack.

“We all understand that the life of any citizen of Cameroon is of great concern to the Government, and that the country will always stand out at anytime to protect the lives of its citizens, no matter where they are found.”

Ndasi described Cameroon as “a peaceful country and lover of foreigners, well cultured and responsible, a state of law and order,” and regretted that African brothers and sisters are victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa and, above all, on a continent with the quest to live in unity.

“Cameroonian youth say no to xenophobia in South Africa and in any part of the world; call for national mobilisation against the ill; call on the Cameroon Government to tell us what plans and measures it has taken to guarantee the safety of our brothers and sisters in South Africa.”

He also stated that: “We, the youth of Cameroon wish to inform all South African nationals in Cameroon that they will never face such attacks from any Cameroonian and to inform the South African Government that if this violence continues and many more Africans are killed, we shall consider joining forces with other African youth movements to stage a boycott of South African business empires.”

Calling on Cameroonians in South Africa to be vigilant and stay away from all forms of crimes and violence, the activist declared that “together, we remain African and this episode of disorder is not strong enough to dismantle the love, unity and aspiration that we share as Africans…”

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