Xenophobic attacks: seven die in one month

Time of article published Aug 2, 2000

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Seven foreigners from different African countries have been killed on the Cape Flats, Western Cape, in the past five weeks in what police believe is a spate of xenophobic murders.

In the past 15 months, a total of 12 apparently xenophobic attacks have been reported to the police.

The trend has spread since April last year, when violent xenophobia first emerged in the region. Five killings were reported up to June this year - although at the same time the rate of murder experienced a sudden increase.

The Cape Town Refugee Forum is to meet community leaders, ministers of religion, refugee and asylum communities and other organisations, especially in areas where the murders have taken place.

- Kenyan Kingori Siguri Josephat died recently in Tambo Close, Khanya Park in Guguletu after being attacked and shot.

- In separate incidents, two Nigerians were shot dead recently in NY 99 in Guguletu.

- Prince Anya, 36, who owned a restaurant in Sea Point, was hijacked with his wife Tjidi and their toddler in Adam Tas Road, Bothasig.

The couple were taken to Camelia Street in Bishop Lavis where they were shot in the head and arms. Anya ran away and his wife collapsed at the scene.

Tjidi died in hospital, and her husband's body was found further down Camelia Street. The child is in foster care.

- In Mdolomda Street in Langa, two Angolan brothers were trapped inside their house and burnt to death.

- Nguiji Chicola, 23, and Mario Gomez Inacio, 25, were in their house when it was set alight by several men who then ran away. The brothers burnt to death.

Guguletu police spokesperson Charles Kakudi said that all indications point to a xenophobic trend.

Residents did not particularly like the presence of refugees, asylum-seekers or foreigners in their communities. People fear outsiders will claim property and businesses that supposedly belong to the people of the neighbourhood.

Bishop Lavis police spokesperson Gerty Abrahams said xenophobia could not be ruled out in the attacks on the Nigerian couple.

Referring to the Angolan brothers, Langa detective Xolali Ngantweni said that he was still looking for the suspects and for witnesses.

Christina Henda, refugee forum co-ordinator, said that the forum was organising meetings and workshops with the police to discuss refugee issues and to establish a partnership to prevent unnecessary arrests and other xenophobic tendencies.

Henda said that attempts were being made to educate refugees and asylum seekers about their rights and responsibilities in their host country, and on how to keep safe. The gatherings were being planned for communities in which most refugees lived, such as in Muizenberg, Bellville, Guguletu, Langa and Khayelitsha.

She said that refugees and asylum-seekers did not come to Cape Town to get rich, but left their countries owing to a "well-found fear" of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or due to a war situation.

Most of the refugees and asylum-seekers come from Somalia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan.

Henda explained that xenophobia, defined as a deep dislike of foreigners, was based on a fear of the unknown or anything that was seen as different. In South Africa these fears were that refugees and asylum seekers were to blame for specific problems.

Regarding the forum based in Athlone, Henda has appealed to the public for blankets, beds, clothes, cooking utensils, bedding, books, school uniforms and any other form of help."

Call Christina Henda or Zoe on (021) 697 4493.

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