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By Joe Brock and Nqobile Dludla JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The recall of Nigeria's top diplomat after a spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa follows several similar spats that expose the two countries' deep rivalry for economic and political dominance in Africa. Nigeria's Acting High Commissioner to South Africa Martin Cobham said on Saturday he had been "invited" to Abuja to discuss this month's anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa, which have killed at least seven people. Televised images of armed gangs attacking immigrants and looting foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg have sparked a backlash in Nigeria, where hundreds protested in front of shops owned by South African brands like MTN and Shoprite. South Africa's foreign ministry on Sunday called Cobham's recall an "unfortunate and regrettable step", before taking a swipe at Abuja for its own record on protecting foreigners.