A Church minister felt the wrath of a mob of angry South African residents on Saturday‚ who assaulted him during a violent protest against what they claim is “Nigerians selling drugs and prostituting their (South African) children”. The throng of community members‚ some drinking beer‚ entered Celestial Church of Christ in Atteridgeville planning to “search the church for drugs and any illegal activity”. Police fired stun grenades to disperse the angry crowd‚ who were walking around the area to “search and burn spaces that are known to be selling nyaope to school children”. At least two houses were burnt down.
The church’s prophet‚ Samson Sangojinmi‚ was immediately called. When he arrived in his Mercedes Benz he was assaulted by the mob‚ leaving his white robe bloodied before his congregation managed to drag him inside.
“You Nigerians must go open churches and salons in your own countries‚ no one can survive on such alone without selling drugs‚” said another.
By then about 20 police officers had arrived and fired a stun grenade to disperse the crowd.
Paramedics treated Sangojinmi. The minister said he was hurt that people thought he would sell drugs.
“We help many people in this church‚ when they want food or a place to stay we help them. It’s sad to see people attacking me even when I’m trying to talk to them‚” said Sangojinmi.
One woman‚ who refused to be named‚ said she had witnessed children in school uniform entering several of the houses they had searched.
“Some of the girls we found in the houses were high‚ wearing short outfits‚ who’ve ended up never leaving because they owed these Nigerians too much money. Enough is enough‚ we can’t trust the police anymore because they never do anything to help us‚”
Police spokeswoman Captain Augustinah Selepe said the group of people who targeted foreign nationals‚ started demonstrating early on Saturday morning.
She said that by the time police responded to the scene‚ two houses had already been burnt down. “Police are keeping a strong presence and are on the ground monitoring the situation‚” she said.
No one has been arrested in connection with this incident. Saturday’s violence follows similar protests recently in the southern Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville.