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Govt failing Somali refugees: Amnesty

Johannesburg - Government and police are not doing enough to protect Somali refugees, rights organisation Amnesty International said on Thursday.

“Six years after the large-scale xenophobic violence of 2008, it is inexcusable that South African authorities have yet to address this problem,” regional director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said in a statement.

Siyat Adbdullah Garde looks at some of his stock and that of other Somali shopkeepers stacked outside as they have no storage facility after their stores were looted by Nellmapius residents. Photo: Phill Magakoe. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The xenophonic attacks in 2008 left more than 60 dead and some 10,000 displaced.

He said recent attacks on Somali-owned shops in and around Mamelodi could have been prevented.

“Despite repeated calls, the police were slow to respond and failed to adequately deploy patrols to stop the escalation of violence which has so far left one refugee dead, ten others injured, and at least 76 shops burnt or looted.”

Police could not confirm these crimes.

The Star reported that Somali shop owners in Mamelodi East were forced to flee after violence against them. A Somali man told the newspaper a shop owner had been killed by looters.

Muchena said failure to prevent the attacks indicated a failure of political will to tackle the problem.

“A national strategy to prevent violence against refugees is urgently needed together with an end to the impunity which many perpetrators of violence against refugees apparently enjoy.”

National police and the Government Communication and Information System could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sapa

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