CAPE TOWN – An academic on Wednesday backed claims by Somalis that they are being targeted by a murderous city gang.
At least three Somali men have been killed in Cape Town in just two days.
In the latest incident, a shopkeeper was gunned down in Gugulethu on Tuesday evening.
A Somali activist has told Eyewitness News the attacks are deliberate and violent.
Wits researcher Vanya Gastrow said, “A number of the traders have all identified a similar individual who is the ringleader behind the attacks, but it seems that that the gang has grown, so he’s not the only hijacker now. It seems that there are other hijackers linked to him and working for him.
Gastrow said there is reason to believe the crimes are linked to one individual.
“He was arrested towards the beginning of 2011. During the period that he was arrested and held in custody, which was possibly just over a year, there were no hijackings.
“Since he’s been released, it’s seems to be getting increasingly worse, there’s murder and a number of traders have been hijacked this year.”
The Wits researcher said it has become a very serious problem for Somali traders in Cape Town.
“Some of the victims have been killed. Some have been shot while others have been beaten. It also inhibits their ability to make a living, because if they can’t drive safely to go and collect stock, it impacts on their ability to conduct business in the city.”
Meanwhile, relatives of the Somali shopkeeper who was murdered in Gugulethu said their family back home want them to rethink their decision to remain in South Africa.
Abdul Qadir Hassan was shot and killed in his shop after four gunmen entered and ransacked it.
As they fled the scene they fired several shots at those inside.
An activist said Somalis are worried.
“We don’t have the government taking action, so we’re really worried. Our community is living in shock and fear in South Africa.”
On Monday, two Somalis were shot dead in Philippi.
The men were inside a van at the time of the incident.
No arrests have yet been made.
The Somali Crisis Group on Wednesday condemned the killings.