●KwaNobuhle: Xenophobia attack near Uitenhage South Africa
Attacks on Somalis spread, fuelled by rumours of rapes.
ANOTHER attack on Somali- owned shops on Tuesday night led to the ransacking of one shop and the evacuation of more than 20 others in KwaNobuhle outside Uitenhage.The latest looting and riots were apparently triggered by the alleged rape of two young girls, aged nine and 13, by a Somali, 30, in KwaNobuhle on September 29, although it was only reported on Monday.Word about the alleged rape spread rapidly through the community. The unrest may also have spilled over from a violent outbreak in Jeffreys Bay on Monday night.Police spokesman Marianette Olivier said the two girls had been admitted to the Provincial Hospital on Monday, and the accused Somali had been arrested.Abdi Habarwa, spokesman for the Eastern Cape division of the Somali Association of South Africa, claimed the attacks on Somalis stemmed from xenophobia.
“We are very frightened. We don‘t feel safe here any more. The xenophobia started as a small thing in Jeffreys Bay, but now it is in Uitenhage and it‘s spreading,” said Habarwa.
On Monday night, 23 Somali-owned spaza shops were damaged, and more than 20 Somalis had to run for their lives in Jeffreys Bay after a mother reported a Somali had raped her four-year-old daughter.
Habarwa said: “The problems started at about 7pm (on Tuesday), when people started spreading rumours about a Somali raping two little girls in KwaNobuhle.”
Residents gathered and threw stones at the Somalis, said Olivier.Habarwa claimed local residents raided one Somali shop in the area and started rioting.
Olivier, on the other hand, said: “No shops were looted when we were there, but the Somalis took all the goods out of their shops and left.“We didn‘t force them to evacuate; it was their choice,” said Olivier. Seven KwaNobuhle residents were arrested for alleged public disorder.Habarwa said: “The police tried to bring the crowds under control. They then started evacuating all the Somalis out of their shops.”He said the community policing forum had also tried to break up the riots, calling on the crowds to disperse.“We don‘t know what to do. The government tells us … we must integrate with society. So we try to make an honest living, but now the society is telling us it does not want us,” said Habarwa. The man accused of raping the two girls will appear in the Uitenhage magistrate‘s court today.
by Rochelle de Kock HERALD REPORTER
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Filed under: SOUTH AFRICA, XENOPHOBIA | Leave a Comment
Tags: KwaNobuhle, somali, Uitenhage, VIOLENCE, xenophoia