Five people were killed and hostages were being held at a church west of Johannesburg, South African police said on July 11, Saturday.
Police announced in a statement that they were alerted to a “hostage situation and shooting” in the early hours of the morning at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom.
Thirty arrests were made and more than 25 firearms seized, police wrote on Twitter microblog, adding hostage negotiators were still at the scene.
Police did not explain the reason behind hostages situation.
Television station eNCA suggested there had been a leadership dispute at the church and cited a church official as saying roughly 200 people had been taken hostage.
Nigerian high commissioner is recalled and a special envoy will be send to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to address recent xenophobic attacks during urban violence outbreaks, said Information Minister Lai Mohammed at a press briefing in Abuja.
South Africa has already temporarily closed its diplomatic missions to Nigeria in Lagos and Abuja fearing reprisal attacks against its citizens, according to CNN.
The closures follow outbreaks of violence earlier this week in South Africa. At least five people were killed and 189 arrested during xenophobic attacks and looting in Johannesburg, Pretoria and elsewhere. Foreign nationals from countries including Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia were targeted.
In spite of the violence outbreak South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reaffirmed the bilateral relations as “firm and strong” and added that the two partners were resolute in their shared commitment to build an Africa at peace with itself and others.
The statement came amid the deteriorating diplomatic relations between the two African countries, after Nigeria introduced plans to evacuate its nationals in South Africa following a wave of xenophobic attacks.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to visit South Africa in next month to “reinforce strong bonds”, following the attacks against West Africans.
South African police have arrested dozens of people in Johannesburg on September 2 after rioters looted shops, burned tyres and blocked road junctions – the second outbreak of urban rioting in a week. (Image: Johannesburg).
Police had no answer what exactly had triggered the violence, however it is generally considered that the social context has deteriorated: unemployment at close to 30%, widespread poverty and income disparities have all been blamed for recent outbreaks and attacks on immigrants.
Last week, hundreds of protesters in the administrative capital Pretoria set fire to buildings, looted mostly foreign-owned businesses and clashed with police, who started to fire rubber bullets at the crowds in attempt to stop further devastation.
Taxi drivers issued an alert to commuters asking them to avoid Pretoria downtown.
However, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigerian shops had been targeted by “mindless criminals” and promised to take “definitive measures“.
The African continent is in vital need of energy investments, and Russia could become one of its key partners, according to President Vladimir Putin attending #BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I would especially like to underline that Russia is planning to step up its assistance in development of national energy in African states,” said the Russian president during the BRICS-Africa Outreach panel.
According to Putin, Russia is in talks with Angola, Mozambique and Gabon on implementing promising oil and gas projects. “In the field of nuclear energy, where Russia is the technological leader, we offer African partners to build an industry from scratch,” the Russian president said. These projects are crucial for Africa since about 600 million people on the continent live without electricity.
Energy is not the only sphere where Russia and Africa could cooperate, according to Putin. “Russian business shows interest in working with African partners in a wide range of areas, including agriculture, healthcare, the development of mass communications, geology and subsoil use,” Putin said.
President Putin mentioned Angola, where Alrosa company is interested in mining diamonds, a joint venture between Russia and Burundi on the production of lighting products for exports to East Africa, and agriculture projects in Senegal.
The raid by the Hawks police unit on the family home of the Guptas have been launched day after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ordered Zuma to step down as head of state after nine years in office dogged by scandal and a stagnant economy.
A dozen heavily armed tactical police blocked off a street leading to the Gupta home in Johannesburg. Police regards the place as a “crime scene”.
Zuma and the Guptas – a family the Indian-born mogul – deny any wrongdoing. However a Gupta brother and a business associate have been arrested by the Hawks. Other family members have agreed to hand themselves over to police.
The Hawks arrested members of the family who they consider to be flight risks. According to different sources recently Atul Gupta became the seventh-wealthiest person in South Africa, with an estimated net worth of more than USD700 million.