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Somali looting not xenophobic: SASA

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The Somali Association of South Africa (SASA) does not fear any further cases of looting of stores owned by Somali nationals in the Western Cape, according to spokesperson Mohamed Aden Osman. Osman expressed this sentiment a day after supporters of the Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement were allegedly involved in the looting of Somali owned stores in Phillipi. Eleven members were arrested, according to the South African Police Service.

“The circumstances surrounding the violence [Tuesday] are still being investigated. Last night two men were shot, one killed, one injured. Eleven protestors have been arrested on charges of public violence,” police spokesperson Col. André Traut said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day the sentencing of nine Ses’khona members involved in the dumping of feces at Cape Town International Airport in 2013 was postponed, causing anger among their supporters.

But Osman believes Tuesday’s unrest in the Marikana informal settlement is not an extension of recent violence aimed at foreigners in Gauteng townships. Instead, he says it is an isolated incident.

“This didn’t have to do with Jo’burg. From what I know it was just a dispute that went wrong. Those who were protesting in Bellville had some disputes there that carried over into Phillippi; they started looting the shops, the Somali owners defended themselves. The protestors channeled their anger into Phillippi,” Osman said.

Osman said the danger of people acting in mobs is their disregard for morality. He said often youngsters, like on Tuesday, get drawn in without knowing the cause of a group’s distress.

“Usually a few individuals start the problem; and the youth join but they do not know what they’re doing. I think it is important that we as the Somali community and the elders and heads of these communities sit and speak and spread awareness that such behaviour should not be encouraged.” VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)

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