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Bangladeshi-owned shops attacked by miscreants in South Africa

  • Published at 01:24 pm September 5th, 2019
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Generalized attacks on foreigner-owned businesses, Bangladeshis not targeted per se

Some Bangladeshi-owned shops have been attacked, and vandalized by miscreants in the South African cities of Johannesburg, and Pretoria.

The miscreants also vandalized businesses belonging to other nationals, killing at least five people on Tuesday, officials concerned of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Dhaka Tribune on Thursday.

However, there was no report of any Bangladeshi casualty in the anti-foreigner riots, the officials said, quoting a report sent by the Bangladesh High Commissioner in Pretoria.

The Bangladesh High Commission in South Africa has asked Bangladeshis living in that country to remain vigilant against such attacks, which have been frequent over the years.

The officials confirmed that Bangladeshi-owned shops were not targeted alone, rather those attacks were generalized in nature against the foreigners.

"They burnt everything," Bangladeshi shop owner Kamrul Hasan told AFP news agency in Alexandra, a township near Johannesburg.

Kamrul said his shop gets attacked every three to six months. 

"All my money is gone. If the [South African] government pays for my plane ticket, I will go back to Bangladesh," said the 27-year-old.

"The government of South Africa is very active in this regard. Already many arrests were made. Our High Commission is in constant touch with the host government with regards to the welfare of the Bangladeshis," a senior Foreign Ministry official told Dhaka Tribune.

He said: "It is very difficult to say the exact number of Bangladeshis currently residing in South Africa. But, we estimate that the number will be around 200,000."

The reasons for such attacks are mainly attributed to the rising unemployment in South Africa, and many in that country blame foreigners for that, explained the officials, adding that criminal activities could also be a reason.    

Such attacks on businesses owned by foreigners are nothing new in one of the most prosperous nations in the continent of Africa.

The wave of attacks on foreigners claimed at least seven lives in 2015, while some 60 people were killed across South Africa in 2008.

Besides, sporadic attacks on foreigner-owned businesses, and properties are a common phenomenon in the recent past.

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