Refugee attacks continue in South Africa
Below is 25 year-old Ahmed Abu-Bakr a Somali Refugee who was attacked by robbers in Delf near Cape Town.
By Hassan Isilow
CAPE TOWN- When 25 year-old Ahmed Abu-Bakr left his home country of Somalia four years ago to seek asylum in South Africa, he expected to find peace. But this was not to be. The Refugee has been attacked more than six times ever since he arrived in the country. On Thursday night, three thugs broke into his shop in Delft near cape Town, and stabbed him four times in the back before fleeing with cash, airtime and cigarettes.
“Allah is great. I thought I would not survive. Those thugs wanted to finish me off,” the wounded refugee said.
Abu-Bakr had just closed his shop at 8pm when the three thugs struck. He said they ordered him to open the shop, but when he refused, they used a machine to cut through the strong metallic doors.
“I called the police immediately, when the thugs started breaking down my door, but sadly, they arrived 20 minutes late. I was lying in a pool of blood and they took me to hospital.” Asked about his condition, the Somali said he was in a lot of pain in the back and cannot move his shoulders.
“I feel so angry and my blood boils whenever I remember what happened to me on Thursday. Those thugs were very ruthless. They should have taken the money and not stabbed me,” he said, tears filling his eyes.
A police spokesperson in Delft confirmed the incident. “We are aware of Abu-Bakr’s case and are looking for the criminals who attacked him,” a spokesperson told Africa Witness on Phone.
Attacks like these are not unusual on migrants. Despite the high crime rate and xenophobia in South Africa, most refugees opt to take the risk of being robbed in their businesses here than returning to their home countries. This is also evident by the fact that large numbers of African migrants continue to flock to this country to be part of the rainbow nation.
South Africa is a haven for most migrants, because they believe that nothing that is happening to them here could be worse than life in their own country.
Nkuruzinza Micheal, a Congolese national working as a security guard at a Cape Town hotel, told Africa Witness he fled his home in Goma, DRC, after government forces there accused him of spying for rebels. “I’m lucky to be alive today. My parents were killed by government forces when they came searching for me at our Goma house,” he recalled.
Micheal is of Tutsi origin and was accused by the government forces of spying for General Laurent Nkunda, leader of the strongest rebel group in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He related how he had trekked on foot for six days with friends until they reached the Ugandan border Town of Bunagana.
“We walked through the bushes fearing that at one point we could be captured by the ruthless Congolese military who hate us, the Banyamulenge people – a tribe of Congolese Tutsi, which the rebel leader Gen Nkunda belongs to.” They were lucky. When they reached the Ugandan boarder the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was there to receive them. They were offered food, medicine and temporary accommodation. But at the refugee camp life was difficult, so he decided to venture on a journey of hope to South Africa.
Abdullahi Tifo, a Somali refugee told Africa Witness he fled from Mogadishu in January 2010, after militants attacked his home. “The militants wanted me to join them. But I was not interested in killing people, so I decided to leave the country because they would kill me for refusing to join them.”
Tifo knew that South Africa was dangerous, but he still choose to come here “We know xenophobic elements don’t welcome us in South Africa. But we have no option, but to come and seek refuge,” said the entrepreneurial refugee who operates several small businesses in Cape Town.
But for Zimbabwean born Martin Mazibuko, it wasn’t war that brought him here. Wide scale poverty in Zimbabwe caused him to flee the former British colony governed by Dictator Robert Mugabe. “Life in South Africa is good,” he said.