I DON’T WANT TO KILL PEOPLE!
Somalis would rather risk thugs in South Africa than militants in Mogadishu
SOMALI traders keep being killed by robbers in South Africa. But still they come from their distant country in the Horn of Africa. Africa witness- reports from Johannesburg.
SOUTH AFRICA is heaven for Somalis because nothing that’s happening to them here could be worse than life in their own country!
Just last week, 39 Somalis were arrested as they crossed into the country from Mozambique after trekking south for a month.
Abdullahi Osman Ebrahim (45) is a Somali refugee and father of nine. He says he fled from Mogadishu – “Africa’s Death Capital” – in January after Islamist militants attacked.
“They wanted me to join them. But I was not interested in killing people so I decided to leave the country. . . they would kill me if I didn’t join them!”He explains.
Abdullahi trekked on foot for six days with his family from Mogadishu to Baidoba – some 240km – before getting a lift on a truck to Kenya, where he met people who advised him to continue to South Africa.
According to Osman, most Somalis prefer to come South Africa because of the countrys liberal economic policy which allows people to quickly set up small businesses without much official interference.
“We know we are not welcome here, but this is the only country in Africa where we can make a living. It’s better to be attacked here by robbers than by the Islamic fighters in Somalia!”
Abdul Hakim Hadi, chairman of the Somali community, said: “There are about 35,000 Somali nationals in South Africa involved in different sectors of the economy, but the majority are shopkeepers.
“Over 700 Somali nationals have been killed in violent robberies in the last seven years!” he added.