Four more Ghanaians have been confirmed dead in Heibron, a town in the Free State Province in South Africa.
It is unclear if their deaths are related to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, as the deceased were found locked in a salon and were foaming at the mouth.
A statement signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna Tetteh, said the Ghana High Commission in South Africa had reported the death of four Ghanaians — A man, two women and a baby — in Heibron, a town in the Free State Province in South Africa.
It said the commission contacted the South African police who had confirmed the deaths and additionally stated that “they were found in a salon which was locked, and upon breaking in they found the bodies of the four persons all of whom were foaming at the mouth.”
It said the bodies of the deceased had since been removed for postmortem examination.
“Our mission informs us that no attacks on African immigrants have taken place in Heibron, or in the Free State Province,” it said.
The statement also said the commission had sent an officer to the location to investigate the matter, adding that the ministry had also requested the National Security Council Secretariat to urgently despatch an officer to liaise with the South African police in their preliminary investigations into the case.
“We will continue to update the public on further developments as we obtain further confirmation of the facts in respect of this tragic incident,” it said.
However, at the time of going to press, the police in South Africa have ruled out any possibility that xenophobic attack was responsible for the death of four Ghanaians in Heibron, South Africa.
According to the police, the death of the four Ghanaians in a salon in Heibron might have been caused by a generating set which they used to light the place.
They said the fumes from the generating set might have killed the Ghanaians.
South Africa has been experiencing load shedding in some parts of that country. As a result, some individuals have resorted to the use of generating sets to either light or warm their homes.
Last Friday, Ms Tetteh confirmed the killing of a Ghanaian, Emmanuel Quarcoo, in xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
According to her, the deceased was found with head injuries, by the roadside in Umlazi on the Simlane Drive, east of Johannesburg.
Ms Tetteh, who posted the information on her handle on microblogging site, Twitter, said the matter was being investigated by the South African police and the Ghana High Commission was following it up.
Foreign-owned shops in South Africa were last Wednesday attacked and looted in east Johannesburg in the latest string of xenophobic attacks.
The violence continued last Thursday in spite of its condemnation by the South African President, Mr Jacob Zuma.
According to reports, about 200 foreigners sought refuge at a local police station after a crowd began looting foreign-owned shops in East Johannesburg in the night.
At least five people have been confirmed dead in the xenophobic attacks in recent weeks.
South Africa is home to migrants, especially those from other African states and Asia. Many South Africans have accused the migrants of taking over jobs in that country, thereby denying the nationals access to jobs.
Reports say police were forced to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the looters and arrested 12 people.
Meanwhile the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) has condemned “the barbaric, criminal and xenophobic murder” of some African immigrants in South Africa.
In a statement signed by the Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President John Dramani Mahama, it urged the South African government to act quickly to stop the increasing wave of attacks across its country.
The ECOWAS statement also condemned the individual South Africans involved in the act.
Describing the unprovoked attacks as “a pity,” ECOWAS stated that the fact that the very people whose nations sacrificed to help South Africans fight to defeat apartheid would today be considered aliens and hacked to death in such barbaric manners, left much to be desired.