‘SA het oor 2 j. meeste Somaliese vlugtelinge’

South Africans loot a Somali owned business, following xenophobic attacks on foreigners in Du Noon, Cape Town, South Africa, 23 May 2008. Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals has spread across the country with several areas in the Cape Town metropole now affected. More than 40 people have died with hundreds injured and thousands displaced after a week of violent attacks on foreign nationals.

South Africans loot a Somali owned business, following xenophobic attacks on foreigners in Du Noon, Cape Town, South Africa, 23 May 2008. Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals has spread across the country with several areas in the Cape Town metropole now affected. More than 40 people have died with hundreds injured and thousands displaced after a week of violent attacks on foreign nationals.

Kaapstad

Suid-Afrika gaan Brittanje binnekort verbysteek as die land met die grootste aantal Somaliese vlugtelinge ter wêreld.

Só het kenners hier in die parlement gewaarsku.

Daar is tans meer as 300000 Somaliërs in Brittanje, het prof. Iqbal Jhazbhay van Unisa se departement vir godsdienstige studies eergister gesê.

“Suid-Afrika het geen keuse as om aandag aan die Somaliese kwessie te gee nie. Volgens die plaaslike Somaliese gemeenskap se eie berekeninge is daar tans tussen 100000 en 120000 Somaliërs in Suid-Afrika.

“As ons die huidige trek van Somaliese vlugtelinge na Suid-Afrika in ag neem, raam ek dat die Somali-gemeenskap in die land binne twee jaar groter sal wees as dié in Brittanje,” het Jhazbhay in ’n voorlegging aan die portefeuljekomitee oor internasionale betrekkinge gesê.

Die DA het gister gesê die R8 miljoen waartoe die regering hom vir humanitêre hulp in Somalië verbind het, is nie genoeg om werklik ’n verskil te maak nie.

“Gegewe die lening van R2,5 miljard wat ons pas aan Swaziland toegestaan het om hom van die gevolge van sy eie geldelike wanbestuur te red, behoort ons ’n groter skenking aan Somalië te oorweeg,” het mnr. Stevens Mokgalapa, DA-LP, gesê.

Ook die organisasie Gift of the Givers het eergister kaalvuis onder die regering ingeklim oor die “skamele” R4 miljoen wat vir sy werk beloof is, maar waarvan hy nog niks ontvang het nie.

“Wat is R4 miljoen? Dit stuur ’n bars boodskap dat ons nie omgee vir Afrika nie,” het dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, stigter en voorsitter van Gift of the Givers, gesê. Hy en sy span het Dinsdag ná ’n noodsending van agt dae uit Somalië teruggekeer.

Sooliman het gesê ’n aardbewing wat duisende mense in ’n oomblik kan uitwis, is beter as die pyn van ’n ma wat weke lank moet aanskou hoe haar kinders een-een wegkwyn.

Die adjunk-minister van internasionale betrekkinge en samewerking, mnr. Marius Fransman, het gesê Gift of the Givers is nie die enigste organisasie aan wie die regering hulp bied nie.

Volgens hom moet die geld noodgedwonge deur die regering se finansiële stelsels gevoer word, maar dit sal “binne dae” oorhandig word.

Gepos Bon Carolyne Ahiambo Ngara vlugtelinge in Suid-Afrika

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Somali Traders Arming Themselves To Defend Against Cape Town Gangs

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Somalian traders have been arming themselves with illegal weapons to defend themselves against gangs of ruthless robbers in Cape Town`s townships.

Twelve of them have been killed in Khayelitsha alone – one of the largest townships in the province – in the past three months, according to Abdi Ahmed, a spokesman for the Somali Retailers` Association. “Our people are dying like dogs, and the government is doing nothing to stop it,” he said.

Three Somalis and an Ethiopian were shot dead in their stores in a 24-hour murder and robbery spree. Police discovered that a 9mm pistol was used in all the attacks between October 22 and 23.

Now the area has been flooded with illegal guns as the traders arm themselves.

Provincial police spokesman Colonel Billy Jones refused to divulge how many illegal weapons had been seized in the area.

The killing spree in October claimed the lives of Hassan Mohammed Essa, Hoesein Mahamud Arale, Abduragman Ali and Tegesa Ababo.

The Sunday Times has established that detectives and the Visible Policing Unit, tipped off that shopkeepers were arming themselves, have since raided Somali stores. They recovered five illegal firearms and arrested five Somalians.

One of the weapons was, according to SAPS (South African Police Service) records, listed as having been destroyed in the Eastern Cape. Yet the 9mm pistol was found in the possession of a Somalian, Abdiriskh Mohamed, 28, who had been in the country for only 14 days when he was arrested.

Said Ahmed: “We don`t condone or encourage the actions of the men, but we understand their desperation. We have to protect ourselves. We didn`t come to this country to commit crime. We came here to escape the killing in our own country.

“There are many Somali shopkeepers who have been shot more than once. The wound from the first shot doesn`t even have time to heal before they are shot and robbed again.”

One of the shop owners who survived two shootings, who wanted to be known only as Mahmoud, this week showed the Sunday Times the graves in Salt River cemetery of fellow countrymen.

The police blitz started on October 26 at Mazola Cash Store in Kuyasa, where a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition were found. The gun was reported stolen in November last year. Abdulah Weheliye, 56, was charged with possession of an illegal firearm.

On October 28, Aden Ismail Mohamed, 24, was arrested at Rwantsama Cash store in Enkanini, in Harare. They confiscated a 9mm pistol and ammunition. The pistol was stolen in a housebreaking in the Strand in June 2008.

On the same day, police held Abdulah Omar, 25, for possession of illegal ammunition at African Cash Store in Endlovini.

At Siya Cash Store in Enkanini, police found a 9mm pistol with its serial number filed off. Mohamed Dayah, 36, was arrested. Mohamed Omar, 29, was arrested at African Shop in Endlovini.

Four Somali-Owned Shops Burned Down, 55 Looted in E. Cape Attacks

South Africans loot a Somali owned business, following xenophobic attacks on foreigners in Du Noon, Cape Town, South Africa, 23 May 2008. Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals has spread across the country with several areas in the Cape Town metropole now affected. More than 40 people have died with hundreds injured and thousands displaced after a week of violent attacks on foreign nationals.

South Africans loot a Somali owned business, following xenophobic attacks on foreigners in Du Noon, Cape Town, South Africa, 23 May 2008. Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals has spread across the country with several areas in the Cape Town metropole now affected. More than 40 people have died with hundreds injured and thousands displaced after a week of violent attacks on foreign nationals.

Four Somali shops have been burnt down and 55 shops have been looted in Motherwell and Kwadwesi, in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape police said on Thursday.

“About 200 Somalis ran away from their shops, where a lot of them live, when other residents started attacking them,” said Captain Andre Beetge.

He did not know the reason for the attack.

He said he had heard of some physical assaults on Somalis, but no cases had been opened.

Fifty-two shops were looted and three were burnt down in Motherwell and three shops were looted and one was burnt down in Kwadwesi.

The attacks began on Wednesday afternoon and continued until the early hours of Thursday morning when police contained the situation.

“There was some stone-throwing at police when they arrived at the scene, but it wasn`t a general thing,” said Beetge.

“The situation is stable and quiet now and a lot of the Somalis have returned to their homes.

Some are operating their businesses already,” he said.

In March 2011 Somalis blamed local businessmen for prompting an attack then after some argued they were being undercut and were alarmed at the competition.

Somali leaders then accused the police of helping themselves to their goods during attacks.

The police firmly deny such charges and say that any goods they are able to salvage during the looting of Somali shops are taken to the local police station for safe keeping.

Joseph Matshapa, a community police forum officer in Motherwell, told UNHCR investigators that police have introduced several measures aimed at protecting Somali businesses.

“The police patrol Somali business areas at all hours.

After each patrol, the shop owner and the police both sign a confirmation of patrol booklet, which is proof that the police are trying to uphold safety and security,” he noted.

Somalis still searching for peace

Somali nationals demonstrate outside the Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, and call for the United Nations High Commission on refugees to take over the running of relief centres

Somali nationals demonstrate outside the Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, and call for the United Nations High Commission on refugees to take over the running of relief centres

Faith stays with them despite all hardships

THE first thing Mohamed Sharif Noor grabbed as looters stormed his Motherwell shop last Wednesday was his Koran. The 26-year-old father of five is one of about 143 Somalis displaced when vandals struck nearly a week ago, looting and burning shops.

Less than 48 hours later, Noor sat on a mattress in the Motherwell police station yard – head bowed, reading his Koran.

Asked why he salvaged this holy book, he replied simply: “This is my religion, I need it. I read my Koran every day.”

Noor, like so many other Somalis in South Africa – there are about 9000 in the Eastern Cape – came here to escape the “everyday” fighting in his country.

He does not speak much of the horrors in the war-torn country, but becomes sad when speaking of the wife, five children, mother and father he left behind in Marka.

“I`m alone … I speak to them and I send them money. I had two shops but the one was burnt and the other looted. I don`t know what to do … It`s better to stay here, I don`t have money to go back. I`m afraid…”

About 60 men have sought refuge at the police station while others are being accommodated with family and friends in Korsten.

By 1pm most of them had left for Friday prayers while about a dozen guarded what they were able to take from their shops – crates of cooldrink, fresh fruit and washing powder.

As Noor read his Koran, a few metres away a young Somali washed his hair using a 2l plastic bottle.

There are no facilities for the men – no toilets, no bathrooms and nowhere to cook.

What little they do have, they share – as is the Somali way of life – even offering crumbs to birds.

A human rights official, who does not want to be named and does not want to comment, looks on, nods his head disapprovingly and says quietly: “These are human beings…”

Minutes later, the men start washing their feet at a nearby tap and soon they are lining up next to each other, all facing the same direction, for Friday afternoon prayers.

Among them is Suleiman Hussein, a 26-year-old who has lived here for 10 years and has become the voice of Somalis in the Eastern Cape.

He, too, fled Somalia because of the war, leaving behind his father, mother and 30 siblings. His father has four wives and he has 13 siblings on his mother`s side. “I left school, but to go to school was also trouble. You can get killed on your way to school by a stray bullet. It`s easy to die there.

“Somalia is the worst place in the world.”

Fluent in Somali, English and Xhosa – he is adamant he will learn Afrikaans – Hussein has become a vital link between his community and South Africans, even serving as court interpreter.

He owns two shops in Uitenhage but his role as spokesperson for the Somali Association of South Africa in the Eastern Cape keeps him busy.

As we travelled across town to meet another family in Korsten, Hussein mentioned how families here were safer than those in the townships, partly because they were protected by local Muslims.

Bashir Sheikh told his story through Hussein. Sitting on a bed in a tiny room he recalled his journey to South Africa, which spanned 20 years.

He explained how, when civil war broke out in 1991, regions were ruled by warlords. Those who did not belong to tribes governed by the warlords were killed. “We were in the minority and so we ran. My elder brother was killed there, they murdered him. I saw his body on the ground. Those who shot him took everything. At the time, I fled to Ethiopia.”

As his wife, Fatima Mohamud, did laundry for other Somalis, the family`s only income, Sheikh continued his story. His journey took him to Saudi Arabia next, but he was soon deported back home.

“When I came back to Somalia, everything was demolished, everything was destroyed because of that civil war.”

Sheikh then travelled to Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia and finally came to South Africa in 1999. In 2004, his wife and child joined him. Three more children were born in South Africa. In 2008, they arrived in the Eastern Cape, settled in Addo and later moved to Port Elizabeth.

In his time in South Africa he has been robbed several times and shot at once.

With the help of his brother, Sheikh`s wife was able to set up the small laundromat business – two washing machines in a tiny bedroom. He tells us how, just minutes before, they were discussing going back to Somalia.

“My family is in Kismayo and when they heard the news that Somalis are being killed and robbed in South Africa, they asked why we didn`t come back,” Sheikh said. “I miss it, especially when people say Kismayo is a peaceful place.”

When we asked Hussein why he would not rather join his family in New Zealand, Australia or Canada, he became a bit more pensive, almost sad.

“I`m proud that I`m African.
“This is my second country. I want to stay here although sometimes it`s a risk.”

Writer Exhorts Arabs, Muslims To Meet Obama Halfway For Change, Peace, Democracy

Residents watch a television broadcasting the speech of U.S. President Barack Obama from Cairo while sitting in a cafe in Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad ,June 4, 2009.

Residents watch a television broadcasting the speech of U.S. President Barack Obama from Cairo while sitting in a cafe in Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad ,June 4, 2009.

If the basic goal of Obama`s speech in Cairo tomorrow is to improve the relationship with the Muslim world, the question that is more useful to ask is: What are the signs for improving this relationship in the Muslim world itself? It has become the norm in our countries to blame external forces for corrupting our internal conditions and for causing the tension in relations among the different sides in the Arab and Muslim world. The notion of “clash of civilizations” was tantamount to a gift by the West to perpetuate this mental image among the Arabs and Muslims. It turned into a firm argument after the 11 September 2001 attacks when the neo-conservatives became enamored with taking their revenge from all the Muslims and punishing them for what a very few of them did. George W. Bush unleashed his “crusader wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq and the neo-conservatives vied with one another in supporting Israel until Israel for a moment began to think that it owns the Middle East and everyone in it. It waged two bloody wars in less than two years (in Lebanon and Gaza) and Bush gave it “a promise of guarantees” that clearly undermined the essence of Palestinian and Arab rights.

However, what is said above does not in any way negate the responsibility of the Arabs and Muslims themselves for the tragedies and ordeals that have befallen them or for their relationship with the West. This is clearly obvious when Obama`s desire for change is compared with the desire of the Arabs and Muslims for change as well as in their ability to bring about change. This point can be tested in three major issues. The first is the issue of democracy in the Arab world. The United States has played an important role in propping up certain tyrannical regimes in the Arab and Muslim world over the past six decades. This was openly admitted by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her famous speech at the American University of Cairo four years ago. Nevertheless, the responsibility of the Arab elites – both ruling elites and ruled elites – is also essential in this. These elites were confused by the Bush Administration`s call for change (note Obama`s use of the same term) in the Arab world. On the pages of this newspaper, the Arabs differed on the usefulness of US support for democracy in their countries and the Arab elite became divided on the notion of “by my hands and not by the hands of anyone else”. However, there was a vast distance between the ambitions for change by this elite and its ability to make it. When the empathy of “the hands of anyone else” toward the rise of Islamists in several Arab countries regressed, the Arab “hand” remained in fettered and unable to make this change.

Many are now appealing to President Obama not to forget to talk about democracy in his anticipated speech. However, the Arab regimes seem to be more crafty and cunning. In the past few months and after the departure of the Bush Administration, they enacted several noticeable political changes. Some released their opponents from the jails while others pardoned them. Some regimes proposed sudden institutional amendments while others preferred to amend some charters and constitutions in order to remain in power for ever. It seemed that the implicit message that these regimes wished to convey to the outside world is “we will make no change under duress”. Obama was well aware of this point. In his inaugural address, he avoided talking directly about support for democracy and referred this responsibility to the peoples concerned.

The second issue is the responsibility of the Arabs and Muslims for their conflicts stretching from Somalia to Pakistan. These are basically struggles for power although they may be packaged in slogans of religion, identity, and tribe. What is taking place in Somalia at present is similar to what happened in Afghanistan in the late 1980s after the departure of the Soviet troops. It can be summarized in one phrase “a war of everyone against everyone else”. Everyone in Somalia carries arms. Even Sufism – that we have known to be a moderate spiritual Islamic movement – has entered the armed fray in a confrontation with the “Al-Shabab” movement that is trying hard to establish the “Emirate of Somalistan” in the heart of the Arab world. What is happening in Yemen is incomprehensible. The country is sitting on a hot tin roof not only because of the struggle between the state and the jihadists and insurgents but also because of the re-emergence of the “virus” of national and geographic division after many thought that this virus has left the Yemeni body. Although the Americans have a clear role in it, the roots of what is happening in Pakistan are undermining the Pakistani society and the state`s institutional structure. What is most worth noting in the current confrontation between the Pakistani army and the Pakistani Taliban movement is that it causes more damage to the Muslim world than the damage caused by the neo-conservatives. This is not only because it is taking place between Muslims and the price is being paid by Muslim victims but also because it is sowing the seeds of future conflict that may erupt among the tribes and federal regions in Pakistan that may put an end to the state.

As for the third issue, it is related to the matrix of Arab-Arab relations on one hand and that of Arab-regional relations on the other. Although the US factor – that has played an influential role in this matrix over the past eight years – has changed, the stands of the other sides involved in it have not changed at all. In light of the above, Obama`s chances to make a quality change in the relationship with the Muslim world are governed and dependent on two points. The first point is Arab and Muslim readiness to shoulder part of the responsibility of mending this relationship. This is particularly true regarding a review of the terms of the ideological and religious discourse and lexicon toward the West in general. The second point is readiness to admit our own responsibility for many of our problems and structural differences distant from the American “scapegoat”. With his courageous admission of the mistakes made by his predecessors in managing the relationship with the Muslim world and in his efforts to correct these mistakes, Obama is essentially throwing the ball to the Muslim “court”. He is thus invalidating one of the strong excuses we have used to justify our domestic problems and calamities.

It is true that despite its attractiveness, the change that Obama is proposing aims at safeguarding American interests first. Nonetheless, the way in which Obama is calling for this change leaves the Arabs and Muslims with a freedom of movement and room for maneuvering that have perhaps not been available since the fall of the former Soviet Union. I believe that Obama will not wait long to test the Arab and Muslim reaction to the desire to improve relations with his country. He may end the period of review and testing if he concludes that it is not feasible to mend this relationship. In such a scenario, only interests – without values and principles – will be the basic guide of the US options toward the Arabs and Muslims. And Obama is brilliant at this. Obama may be forced to return to the strategy of “cost and dividend” regarding the issues of the Middle East. Obama, for instance, will not wait long regarding the dialogue with Iran. He will not accept anything less than are view by Iran of its slogans and options not only toward his country but also toward his country`s moderate allies. Obama will not venture angering Israel unless the Palestinians agree on the usefulness of the option of a peaceful settlement. Obama will not sacrifice his allies in Lebanon unless Syria promises to adjust its relations with Iran, Hizballah, and HAMAS. Thus, there will be no change without a price.

Sheik Muktar Robow Abu Mansur, former spokesman for the al Shabaab hardliners, addresses journalists in the Somalia capital Mogadishu, May 21, 2009. Somalia`s government has accused Eritrea of supporting al Shabaab insurgents with planeloads of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons. Sheik Abu Mansur resigned from his position as spokesperson of the al Shabaab insurgents.

Sheik Muktar Robow Abu Mansur, former spokesman for the al Shabaab hardliners, addresses journalists in the Somalia capital Mogadishu, May 21, 2009. Somalia`s government has accused Eritrea of supporting al Shabaab insurgents with planeloads of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons. Sheik Abu Mansur resigned from his position as spokesperson of the al Shabaab insurgents.

Gepos Bon Carolyne Ahiambo Ngara vlugtelinge in Suid-Afrika

Reports Allege `Civil War` being Waged among Rival Somali Groups in E. Cape

Somali nationals demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, and call for the United Nations High Commission on refugees to take over the running of relief centres.

Somali nationals demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, and call for the United Nations High Commission on refugees to take over the running of relief centres.

SA Imports Somali `Silent War`”

South Africa is playing host to an ethnic civil war that claims the lives of Somalian nationals daily.

In the Eastern Cape, Somalis of rival ethnic groups are waging what some call a “silent war”, “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing”.

Nearly 100,000 Somalis live in South Africa and more than 200 enter the country daily, according to a Somali official working for the department of home affairs.

“We`ve got warlords who enter this country undetected. Some of them are here on a mission,” said the official.

In a two-month investigation, the Daily Dispatch found Somalis in the Eastern Cape battling each other for business territory and South Africans being roped in to assist.

An alleged hit list of Somalis to be killed by their compatriots has been sent to East London police for investigation. The police confirmed receipt of the “hit list”, but said they were unaware it could be part of the battle among Somalis.

Yusuf Ibrahim, spokesman for the East London branch of the Somali Association of South Africa, established to advance the interests locally based Somalis, confirmed the existence of a hit-list.

“We also know that there`s a hitman in the country from Zambia. The problem here is a misunderstanding within us, the Somali community,” said Ibrahim.

Ethnic tension pits those of Ethiopian origin, better known as Ogadenes or Somalian Ethiopians, against those who consider themselves authentic Somalians.

Somalia`s civil war started in the early 1990s when traditional leaders attempted to oust the government. Rebel group Al Shabab later took over the country, imposing Islamic law. Many of those against it were killed or fled.

Most Ogadenes in South Africa are staunch Muslims and see those who fled as defying Islamic rule.

At the heart of the fight over who is entitled to recognition as authentic Somalis is the right to claim asylum status.

Somalis use asylum status as a ticket to establish businesses that have spread in villages, townships and informal settlements throughout the country. The department of home affairs is expected to prioritise asylum seekers from war-torn countries. But Somalis told the Daily Dispatch the department was giving Ogadenes asylum status as authentic Somalians.

Ogadenes feel they have a right to trade in South Africa regardless of their asylum status.

A departmental employee, of Somali origin, said its screening process was “flawed” and fuelling ethnic clashes.

In the past two years, over 100 Somalis in the Eastern Cape have allegedly been murdered in hits.

Port Elizabeth and East London have over 400 graves of Somalians murdered in recent years. Somalians say they were killed by Somalis or hired hitmen.

Thousands of illegal firearms have been bought to fight this war.

Somali human rights activist Mahamoud Abdi Diiriye said hatred between the two groups was fast leading to “genocide in a foreign country”. Three Somalis a week were “killed silently” in South Africa by trained Somalians and hired locals paid from R5,000.

Eastern Cape police spokesman Brigadier Marinda Mills said: “There are fights between these people, mainly for business territory. About the war, our teams have not discovered anything.”

Gepos Bon Carolyne Ahiambo Ngara vlugtelinge in Suid-Afrika

Somali shopkeepers meet police over fears

Somali nationals demonstrate outside the Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, and call for the United Nations High Commission on refugees to take over the running of relief centres

Somali nationals demonstrate outside the Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, and call for the United Nations High Commission on refugees to take over the running of relief centres

SOMALI shopkeepers in Gugulethu, nervous about possible xenophobic attacks, met police yesterday to voice their concerns.

“They don`t know when the locals will loot their stores and chase them away,” said Mncedisi Twualo, chairman of the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) in the Western Cape,.

He and other Somali shopkeepers who went to the Gugulethu police station said that protests from locals and negative sentiment had increased recently, responding in particular to the proliferation of Somali shops in the area.

“They`ll say: `You Somalis, why do you open your stores here?`” said Baska Cusnan, a Somali shopkeeper who has been in South Africa for six years.

“Somalis can stay in the townships and enjoy lives in the townships, but they can`t run shops here – they must run them in town. That`s some of the feelings we`re running into,” Twualo said.

An agreement between the Somali and local communities in August 2009, which the AEC and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Cape Town helped negotiate, had several stipulations for Somali business in the area.

Among them were that Somali stores had to be 100m from local stores, and that Somalis could request to have new shops, “if the opportunity arises”, only if the local community agreed to it.

There must also be uniform price ranges, a ratio of about seven local shops to every three Somali shops, and the sharing of Somali trading expertise and knowledge with the community.

According to Twualo and the Somalis who met with police, some new Somali immigrants are violating the regulations by opening new stores without agreement from the community. Twualo estimated that in some areas there is at least one Somali shop per street.

Cusnan wanted the harassing of Somali shopkeepers to stop.

But he and the other shopkeepers there who have lived in South Africa for years said they didn`t want new shops or new Somalis breaking the rules.

“We (Somalis) work together, stay together – no problem,” he said. “The new shops are a problem.”

The AEC said it would mobilise its members to protect shopkeepers should xenophobic attacks break out.

Gepos Bon Carolyne Ahiambo Ngara vlugtelinge in Suid-Afrika