The South African government has condemned an attack on French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed in Paris, the international relations department said on Thursday.
“The South African government joins the international community in condemning the calculated and barbaric terrorist attack on [Wednesday] against journalists and members of the public in Paris, France,” spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement.
“Deliberate attacks against journalists and members of the public contravene international law and constitute a crime against humanity.”
The Associated Press on Thursday quoted French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying there had been “several arrests” as authorities searched for two gunmen with possible links to terrorist group Al-Qaeda.
Monyela said: “South Africa stands firmly with the international community by unequivocally condemning all terrorism and will continue to support regional and international efforts to address the scourge of terrorism in all its forms.”
The South African government extended condolences to the French public, government and, in particular, the victims of the attack and their loved ones.
SA Freelancers’ Association (Safrea) chairman Clive Lotter condemned the attack.
“In the liberal democratic tradition, of which France is one of the founding nations, freedom of expression is a basic tenet,” he said in a statement.
“The right to express ideas or criticise others is fundamental to a free society.”
The Charlie Hebdo magazine’s satirical depiction of prophet Mohammed has been considered a possible motive for the attack on its staff.
“Safrea supports the right of Charlie Hebdo to express its ideas and reaffirms our solidarity with the magazine, its staff and the people of France,” Lotter said. SAPA