Two Somali men who have fallen victim to a series of attacks talk about their frustration and the horrors they have faced. Photo: Ross Jansen
Gang leaders behind attacks, say Somalis
After being forced out of their homes and businesses following a week of petrol bomb attacks,
several Somalis have been left stranded and say they have nowhere to go.
Mohamed Warsame Abdi, the chairman of the Mitchells Plain branch of the Somali Association of SA, said there were no NGOs or shelters willing to assist traders begging for shelter, food and clothing.
Abdi also spoke about their frustrations: “We all left Somalia because of the civil war. We just want a chance to make something with our lives. Most Somalis do not beg on the streets. They always work for people or for themselves. We just want all of this to stop.”
Several Somali-owned shops in Beacon Valley and Valhalla Park were burnt to the ground last week.
On Saturday, Somali trader Abdirahman Muhammed said he witnessed his shop, which he ran with three friends, go up in flames.
“The fire destroyed everything. It did not even leave us a single coin. All our clothes, money, food… everything was just gone.”
A petrol bomb was flung into the shop in Beacon Valley at 10pm on Wednesday.
“We tried throwing water on it, but then, while we were busy, another four petrol bombs were thrown in. One even hit the hand of my friend, Mohammed Abdullah, who also passed out from inhaling smoke. I had to carry him out of the shop.”
The pair have now been separated from their group as they travel to different areas to seek help from friends and relatives.
Muhammed said he and Abdullah had stayed in Bellville, Manenberg, Nyanga and other areas in Mitchells Plain.
“We will stay in Nyanga tonight (Saturday), but tomorrow we do not know where we are going to stay.”
He added that police have not given him any feedback on the investigation of the attack and he did not think that anything would be done about it.
However, police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said that the investigation was still under way.
Traut added that eight suspects were arrested in connection with the Valhalla Park incidents, but that the cases were withdrawn against seven.
Arrests are yet to be made in the Beacon Valley cases.