South Africa: Somalis shot in tuck shop terror
Inanda, Durban – Somalis in KwaZulu-Natal are living in fear after a spate of violent attacks on their community, including the alleged killings of five countrymen over the past three months.
They urge government to afford them the same protection as citizens.
In the latest attack, a man was shot dead in Inanda on Monday and another is fighting for his life in hospital.
Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, confirmed that two men were shot when four unknown men robbed them at gunpoint in their shop of cash, cigarettes and other items.
“A 32-year-old male died at the scene and the other one was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Inanda police are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder. No arrest has been made at this stage,” Zwane said.
Ahmed Sheik, 24, said on Monday he survived the shooting because he was asleep in another part of the building when the gunmen arrived at their tuck shop just after it opened in the morning.
The other two – the deceased, Farah Dahir Badul, 32, and Abdirahman Mohamed Farah, 28, who was critically wounded – were attending to customers in the shop.
He said three robbers carrying guns entered the shop while the other waited outside.
“They just started shooting each of them without saying a word,” Sheik said.
“They shot the deceased through his chin when he was looking through the counter window, asking if he can help them. The guy in hospital was shot in the right side of his chest. They took whatever they wanted and fled.”
Sheik said that when he heard gunshots, he ran for his life through the back door.
Another Somali national, Ismael Abid Aadan, said on Monday there had been several gun attacks on his countrymen over the past three months. Eight Somalis had been shot and five had been killed in that time, he said.
Aadan said Somali-owned tuck shops in KwaMashu, Ntuzuma, uMlazi, Chatsworth, KwaDukuza (Stanger) and Pinetown had been attacked.
“We are just not getting protection from government. When we call for help from emergency (providers), we never receive immediate help. As Somalis we don’t commit robberies in this country. We try to get tuck shops in order to survive,”Aadan said.
He said Monday’s incident followed one on Sunday in Pinetown, where Mohamed Abdi Noor, 27, was shot dead by “robbers”.
“There is another victim (Jamaa Shire, 26) who was attacked at his tuck shop in Stanger. He was shot 14 times two weeks back and is still fighting for his life in hospital,” Aadan said.
However, Zwane said: “We have checked the Pinetown and Tongaat Crime Administration System; there are no records of related incidents reported.”
A spokesman for the Somali community in Durban, Abdul Aziz, said the attackers should be caught and prosecuted.
“South African authorities must bring justice. We want to see equality. One of the guys was stabbed at the same tuck shop in Inanda and he is scared to go back to work there. Justice is denied and delayed and all we want is to bring these criminals to book,” he said.
When asked by the Daily News if he thought Somalis were victims of xenophobic attacks, Aziz said: “This was not a racial attack. It is just criminals and our main point is to get protection from government. We don’t want this to stir racial tensions, but protection.”
Yussuf Sheik, another Somali, said the only help they had been receiving was from Muslim communities.
“It’s hard to bury someone today, tomorrow and the next day. We bring this to the media so the public and government know our situation,” he said.
“Who knows what is going to happen next or killed, because we also do not know.”
Sheik said there had been attacks on Somalis in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, but not in KZN – until recently.
Source: Daily News