Sept. 11 (UPI) — Nigeria evacuated hundreds of nationals from South Africa on Wednesday morning after a series of anti-immigrant attacks.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said 640 Nigerians have been registered for evacuations, with the first group of 313 departing the country Wednesday and the rest set to leave next week.
Onyeama added they will be received by senior management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon arrival in Abuja.
Private Nigerian airline Air Peace volunteered to fly people back to Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, for free.
More than 700 people from other countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe have also taken refuge in community centers.
The evacuations come after 12 people, including two foreign nationals, were killed in attacks targeting more than 1,000 foreign-owned businesses in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
South Africa temporarily shut down its embassy in Nigeria following the attack, a ministerial spokesman said.