South African security agents have arrested Nigerians already profiled for evacuation out of the country for not possessing travel documents, Tribune Online has learnt.
Fresh information showed that the South African officials showed up at the last minute of when the Nigerian citizens caught up in xenophobic attacks were already positioned to start boarding the Air Peace aircraft.
The aircraft was parked at the tarmac of the Oliver Tambo international airport as early as 4:00 am Wednesday morning when the South African officials effected the arrests.
The South African officials were said to have demanded the travel documents of the Nigerians and an explanation on how they came into South Africa without legal travel papers.
While only 182 of the 317 Nigerians who had been documented with their names on the flight manifest, the remaining 135 who are said to have been prevented from boarding the free flight were taken away by the South African immigration officials.
As at the time of filing this report, scores of journalists including those from foreign and local organisations are waiting without concrete news about when the Nigerians will be allowed to be flown back.
Meanwhile, the Air Peace airline is losing millions as its Boeing 777-200 plane deployed for the special flight continues to remain on the ground at the foreign country.