Foreign Nationals Terrified by Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa
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Foreign Nationals Terrified by Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa

By on Apr 16, 2015

Violent xenophobic attacks have erupted in South Africa, leaving five dead and thousands displaced.  The violence first targeted shops owned by foreign nationals, largely from Somalia and Ethiopia.  Now it’s spreading against all African foreigners, leaving many feeling terrified and hopeless.

Somalia national Ebrahim Mohamad Ali runs a coffee shop in Johannesburg.  Memories of the 2008 xenophobic attacks in South Africa are still fresh in his mind. He lost his auto repair business – and his brother as well.

“That time, even my brother there, they killed him, that xenophobic guys.  My brother is passed away there. They killed him in that robbery, for xenophobia. Me, I lost all my tools, all my money,” said Mohamad.

Seven years later, the attacks have erupted again and have left foreigners terrified. Somali and Ethiopian nationals owning grocery shops in Soweto township were the first to be targeted. They were beaten and chased away by locals who took over their businesses.

Foreign shop owners in Durban were the next to be targeted and now all

African foreign nationals are being told to pack and leave.  Thousands have been displaced and are living in makeshift camps.

Ethiopian national Sarah Kidane is still traumatized after being violently forced out of her shop in Soweto.

“I’m not feeling okay. I was losing too much; I was losing my life; but I don’t know what I can say – but I don’t have any choice now; I don’t have any choice now; go back there; the people are not good; they will start again,” said Kidane while crying.

Other victims say South African police are turning a blind eye to their fate. Gitaw Aniyo, 32, is one of them.

“I did go to report for the police but no one helped me that time.  I was in the police station, even — no police even that time.  I don’t know what was happening.  I didn’t receive anything,” said Aniyo.

Many others, like 25-year-old John Alemu, say they are puzzled by the attacks.

“We are African brothers, but they give us problems here. They kill our brothers and they rob our own shops,” said Alemu.

South African authorities have denied the country is experiencing xenophobic attacks, preferring to call them criminal acts.

Abdirikaz Ali Osman, national secretary of the Somali Community Board of South Africa, disagrees.

“To me it’s pure xenophobic attacks, which have been targeted [against] the foreign nationals who are living in the country — especially those who are having small, informal business in the townships and the informal settlements.  So it’s obvious that it’s xenophobic and Afrophobic violence actually,” said Osman.

Osman is pleading with authorities to swiftly intervene before these foreign nationals, who have already lost their livelihood, lose their lives as well.

Although the attacks are intensifying each day, the foreign nationals, especially those from Somali and Ethiopia, say they would rather die in South Africa than return to their countries of origin, where they are likely to be met with even more violence.

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13 Comments

  1. brukti

    Apr 17, 2015 at 5:25 am

    wtf may god protect Ethiopians and others guys why don’t you just leave their country and come back to yours and work they don’t even deserve a people like Ethiopians if u got enough wealth (I mean u own a shop and cafe and all right??) just come and work here just leave their fucking country its not a big deal they are so stupid……gosh

  2. Ephrem

    Apr 17, 2015 at 5:31 am

    a devil country a devil people sons of lusefer

  3. dinknesh

    Apr 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    You are stupid Shem on you South African! !!!

  4. dinknesh

    Apr 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    You are stupid! !!shame on you South African! !!!!

    • dinknesh

      Apr 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Stop killing !!! you are protest against shame on you

  5. firehiwot

    Apr 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    im so sad and shocked when i see this move. i really pray for this ca-ind of devils peoples may God give them good heart.its so hard when the kills they brothers ,we are the same human and like brothers and sisters ,also we are African why this all happen in Africa?.please stop downing this,but don’t forget what happening in saws Africa many years ago also don,t forget what MANDELA did for African.it,s hard for Africans naw.also right naw what is doing Africa uni-yen,?also the government of s,Africa,?who is responsible for this ?im very shocked . ther is no police in this country.?we are one Africans and Human.Ther is no humanity in Africa?i have a wonderful peace land and my holly country Ethiopia .i love ethiopia.

  6. mokonnen

    Apr 17, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    every thing is good

  7. Geremew

    Apr 17, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    This is degrees rely they so setuped if they can all Ethiopia people have to move out ether ways we don’t have option just dad

  8. fikir

    Apr 18, 2015 at 10:34 am

    It is a very shocking statement that I have read. Do ethiopians and somali people prefer to die in south africa than returning back to their country? Is the cost of retuning out wights the benefits. Oh my God!

  9. mohammednur

    Apr 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    i haven’t any more comments rather filling so so sorry with those of Xenophobians.

  10. nebiyou

    Apr 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    this animals they don’t have anything little sense of human. oh my god it’s hard to see these. I can’t stand this people .I wish I have a power

  11. elias habib

    Apr 19, 2015 at 5:34 am

    great shame south africa……

  12. Temesgen

    Apr 19, 2015 at 7:30 am

    One thing I can say. Let see to the church and pray to the God. And I am sure he will solve us our brothers prob
    lem.

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