Somalia concerned over xenophobic attacks

Johannesburg - The Somali government on Monday called on South Africa to protect Somali nationals living in the country after a spate of attacks on foreigners.

Residents in a township near Johannesburg rioted against the Somali community last week, while tensions have also flared in Port Elizabeth in the east of the country.

Ethiopian business owners from Diepsloot gather at Diepsloot's joint operations centre to discuss the aftermath of xenophobic clashes in the area. File photo: Phill Magakoe. Credit: THE STAR

The unrest in Diepsloot township came after a Somali shop owner allegedly shot dead two Zimbabweans last week. Somali shop owners in Port Elizabeth have also been targeted.

Police have arrested dozens of people and the government in Pretoria has condemned the attacks, which are reminiscent of the wave of xenophobic violence that left at least 60 foreigners dead in 2008.

“I appeal to the Government of the Republic of South Africa as a matter of urgency to intervene and contain this unnecessary and unfortunate violence against Somali business communities to preserve peace and stability,” Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said in an open letter to South African President Jacob Zuma.