700 Somali’s murdered in South Africa
By Hassan Isilow
CAPETOWN- The Somali community in South Africa has been left in shock after 10 members of their community were killed by suspected robbers in a single month.
Two Somali’s were burnt to death inside a shop at solo informal settlement in Strand, some 45km from Cape Town.
A Somali businessman in the coastal Town of Boland called this publication on Wednesday night to relate that a 30 -year-old Somali shopkeeper, Hassan Gerdere, and a colleague had been burnt to death by suspected robbers.
“The deceased were fast asleep in the shop when unknown people climbed onto the roof, pulled out a few tiles, poured petrol and set the shop alight. They could not escape. They burnt to death inside the brick wall shop,” Mohammed Dair, a close friend of the deceased, told this Publication.
Most Somali shopkeepers reside inside their shops which have made them a soft target for both robbers and jealous local traders working in rural communities, some of whom have accused them of selling commodities at cheaper prices.
“We are so traumatized as a community. Last month one of our members was also burnt to death by suspected robbers inside his container shop. Barely a day passes before another Somali is killed,” said Mohammed Jama of the Western Cape Somali Community Board.
While Amir Sheikh, secretary general of the Somali Community Board (SCOB) said the number of Somali’s murdered from 2002 totals to 700.
In Mid-January another Somali shopkeeper was burnt to death when a gang of robbers attacked his shop in Samora Machel Township in the Western Cape. Mahd Omar Abdi, one of the leaders of the Somali community in the Western Cape, condemned the incident by calling it xenophobic.
In May 2008 South Africa was left reeling in shock after an eruption of violence on a national scale not seen since the end of Apartheid. The media describe the attack meted out by mainly blacks against African migrants as an unprecedented wave of xenophobia, while politicians were quick to site the possibility of a third force.
Over 62 lives were lost in the anti-foreign violence that first started in Northern Johannesburg Township of Alexandra. The killing spread throughout the country like wild-fire and many of the South African papers carried a shocking image of a man, from Mozambique who was burnt alive. Civil society organisations in South Africa have strongly condemned attacks on migrant traders especially Somali’s.