GABORONE, Botswana – The government of Botswana on Wednesday issued a travel advisory, warning Batswana travelling to South Africa to “exercise extreme caution” in the wake of widespread attacks on foreign business owners and looting of their goods.
“The Ministry (of International Affairs and Co-operation) further cautions Batswana residing in South Africa to also avoid areas where unrest is occurring and encourages them to remain vigilant at all times,” the statement issued in Gaborone said.
“The Ministry of International Affairs and Co-operation will continue to monitor the events as they unfold and to advise the public accordingly.”
Widespread xenophobic violence and looting of shops has gripped Gauteng province in recent days, with at least five people killed during the mayhem.
Citizens in Nigeria have reportedly retaliated by attacking South African businesses such as mobile operator MTN and supermarket chain Shoprite.
The South African Police Service says over 200 people have been arrested in Gauteng so far following the xenophobic attacks and widespread looting.
Earlier, the government of Zimbabwe on Wednesday urged its citizens based in South Africa, or travelling to the neighbouring country to “take necessary precaution” in the wake of the attacks.
“All Zimbabweans living in South Africa, and those travelling to the country are urged to take necessary precaution to ensure their safety,” Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said.
The Harare authorities expressed “heartfelt sympathies to all Zimbabweans and other African nationals who suffered from the senseless orgy of violence in South Africa”.
“The government and people of Zimbabwe condemn the barbaric acts, which clearly offends the spirit of African unity and solidarity espoused by the African Union’s founding fathers in Addis Ababa in 1963,” Mutsvangwa said.
“These despicable attacks come at an opportune time when African leaders have just launched a continent-wide Africa Free Trade Area, which has opened exciting economic opportunities that facilitate free movement of capital, labour, goods, and services.”
The government of Zimbabwe however applauded the Pretoria authorities “for their swift intervention to end the violence and bring the perpetrators to book.”
African News Agency (ANA)