Somalis march in plea for protection

Tremaine van Aardt and Yoliswa Sobuwa

AS parts of Port Elizabeth’s northern areas return to normal, Somalis are still trying to come to terms with the violence that left one of their own dead.

At least 89 foreign-owned shops were looted during the violence at the end of last month which started out with Booysen Park residents protesting against crime.

But the protest soon turned into a free-for-all, with opportunists taking advantage of the unrest and targeting foreigners.

The violence spread to other parts of the northern areas including Timothy Valley, Windvogel and Cleary Park.

Somali shopkeeper Aberasain Ahmed Gol was brutally hacked with pangas and stoned to death, allegedly by protesters.

About 300 Somalis marched on Friday demanding protection.

The group’s spokesman, Suleiman Hussein, said they deserved the same rights as South Africans.

“We want the police to know that we deserve to be protected.”

Shakier Mogsien, who owned Freedom spaza shop in Timothy Valley, said he did not understand why they had been targeted.

“We sell our products at the cheapest rates we can, because we understand that the locals in Booysen Park aren’t rich so we try to cater for them,” he said.

“Yet, these same residents which are in and out of my shop daily supporting my business were the first ones at my door when it came time to loot.”

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