September 7, 2019 / 6:57 PM / 13 days ago

Nigeria's Buhari to visit South Africa after attacks

FILE PHOTO: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari greets his supporters after Friday prayers in his hometown Daura, in Katsina State, ahead of the country's presidential election, Nigeria February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will visit South Africa next month to reinforce the bonds between the two countries after a wave of deadly riots and xenophobic attacks, the South African presidency said on Saturday.

South Africa’s MTN Group and supermarket chain Shoprite have closed all stores and service centres in Nigeria after their premises were attacked.

Those attacks followed days of riots in South Africa that mainly targeted foreign-owned, including Nigerian, businesses.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday at least 10 people had been killed, two of them foreign nationals, in violence that began in Pretoria and spread to nearby Johannesburg.

Buhari will make a state visit to South Africa in October to help develop responses to the challenges in both countries after Ramaphosa held discussions with Nigeria’s special envoy, the presidency said in a statement.

“The special envoy conveyed President Buhari’s concern at recent events in South Africa, in the context of the strong and cordial relations that characterise the interaction between the two countries,” the presidency said.

It said Buhari’s government planned to act against the targeting of South African assets in Nigeria and reaffirmed relations with South Africa.

The violence in South Africa has stoked concerns about relations between Africa’s two biggest economies. Nigeria said on Thursday it would recall its top diplomat to Pretoria.

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; editing by Clare Fallon

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