The growing but almost silent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa has taken on a new turn after the brutal killing of 34-year-old Samuel Nkennaya in a mob attack that left another Nigerian, Chinonso Nwudo in critical condition in a South African hospital.
Confirming the development, Mr. Victor Ayanfe-Oyebanjo, Secretary of Mpumalanga Province branch of the Nigerian Union in South Africa (NUSA) disclosed that Nkennaya and Nwudo were attacked following accusations that both men kidnapped Chinonye, a six-year-old girl, who unknown to their attackers was Nwudo’s daughter.
“It all started when Nwudo took his six-year-old daughter, Chinonye, to visit Nkennaya at White River town in the evening of April 27.
“Later, Nwudo and Nkennaya proceeded to buy food for Nwudo’s daughter, Chinonye, at KFC restaurant in the area.
Ayanfe-Oyebanjo said shortly after buying the food that some bystanders raised false alarm alleging that both men kidnapped the six-year-old girl.
“Thereafter, the community did not bother to ask questions and immediately mobbed the two Nigerians.
“While they were being attacked, Nwudo kept on shouting that the girl was his daughter and pleaded that they speak to his South African wife to confirm his claim – which actually saved his life.
“The Police later intervened and called for backup to rescue the victims. Nkennaya died at the hospital on April 28, while Nwudo is in critical health condition,” he said.
Ayanfe-Oyebanjo added that the incident has been reported to NUSA’s national secretariat, while the union is currently seeking redress to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.
Speaking, the wife of Chinonso Nwudo, Mrs. Katlekho Ndlovu, a South African national, also confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria on the telephone from Mpumalanga Province.
According to her, Chinonye had been traumatized by the incident and was currently undergoing counseling in an undisclosed hospital.
“They (attackers) did not bother to ask her anything and didn’t even bother to remove her from the scene before beating her dad (Nwudo) unconscious. Chinonye’s dad is in the hospital while her uncle (Nkennaya) is dead,” she said amid tears.