In Xenophobic Attacks, Liberians Remain ‘Safe and Secure’

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In the wake of the evolving Xenophobic attacks against other African nationals residing in South Africa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has been assured by its Ambassador in Pretoria as well as the South African Ambassador in Monrovia that Liberians living in that country are safe and secure.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, the assurances of the safety of Liberians in the ongoing xenophobic attacks were made in two separate interactions. The first was a dispatch from Liberian Ambassador to Pretoria, Lois Brutus; and the second during a meeting between Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and South African Ambassador to Liberia, Masilo Esau Mabeta, held at the Ministry yesterday April 21.

Foreign Minister Ngafuan, during his interaction with the South African envoy, requested an update on the situation in South African with specific regard to the safety of Liberians and other Africans living in that country.

Minister Ngafuan said the Liberian public and Government are concerned about the ongoing attacks and hope urgent actions will be taken to bring the situation to an immediate halt.

The Foreign Minister said the Ministry is receiving daily briefings from Liberian Ambassador Lois Brutus and that it could consider appropriate actions if the situation is not remedied at the earliest possible time.

He described the xenophobic attacks as a worrying sign for African solidarity and the role South Africa is playing on the African continent, hoping that all would be done to end the attacks.

For his part, South African Ambassador Mabeta thanked Minister Ngafuan for inviting him and expressing the concerns of the Liberian Government and people about the ongoing attacks. He assured Minister Ngafuan that his Government is taking practical actions to bring the unrest to an end. He said many arrests had been made and that President Zuma had personally gotten involved in putting to an end what he called a criminal and shameful act. He said the South African Government does not support such xenophobic attacks as such conflicts contradict the principles of the African Union and African solidarity.

Ambassador Mabeta gave assurance that his government is stepping up efforts to ensure the safety of all Africans living in South Africa, including Liberians.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s Ambassador to South Africa says the embassy has been in contact with the Liberian community in Durban and other parts of South Africa. Ambassador Brutus has informed the Foreign Ministry that so far no Liberian had been victimized as a result of the ongoing attacks.

In a dispatch to Monrovia, the Liberian Ambassador expressed concern about Liberians based in the diaspora spreading unfounded information about the situation, warning it could put Liberians at risk.

In her dispatch, Ambassador Brutus reported that the chairman of the 122-member Liberian Community in Durban, Mr. Borley Benson, has again reassured the Embassy that all members of the Liberian Community are well and are accounted for.

The Foreign Ministry release said Ambassador Brutus has been instructed to remain continuously engaged with the Liberia community while Government determines the next steps as the situation in South Africa evolves.

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