PORT Elizabeth’s northern areas exploded into lethal, xenophobic violence yesterday as angry foreign nationals retaliated against widespread looting of their shops in Booysen Park.
Accompanied by men clad in bullet-proof vests and brandishing firearms, the shop owners – in a convoy of 20 cars – took to the streets in large groups to protect what was left of their possessions.
At least one Somali died in yesterday’s violence, allegedly after being brutally hacked with pangas and stoned by protesters as his brothers watched helplessly.
Two foreign-owned shops were also burnt down, a bus was torched and crowds tried to petrolbomb a TV news crew vehicle.
The bus was later stripped by residents for scrap metal.
After hearing of the death in Booysen Park, Somali women in Korsten blocked Durban Road.
“This is a silent genocide that the government is doing nothing about. These hooligan acts are leaving kids without their fathers,” Alimo Mohammud, a leader of the Somali women, said.
The violence, which started with an anti-crime protest earlier in the week, swiftly turned into a confrontation between protesters and foreign shop owners yesterday.
But the foreign shop owners did not just sit back and take it.
The confrontation came about 9am as the foreign group, accompanied by armed men, approached a shop in Booysen informal settlement where looters were preparing to go in.
Surprised by the army of men in the convoy, they screamed and ran off in different directions.
As police approached, the foreign group jumped back into their cars and fled.
For the full story read The Herald, or get the complete newspaper, including comics, classifieds, crosswords and back editions in our e-Edition