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Somali businessman seriously injured in petrol bomb attack

Friday, September 06, 2013

Mr Omar Muhuyadin fled his war-torn homeland, Somalia, to seek a better life in South Africa.

He has been in the country for years and is making an honest living as a shop owner. Muhuyadin (29) of Thohoyandou has been running a spaza shop in Itsani village and business had been steadily improving.

Just when he thought life was changing for the better, unknown forces started making his life miserable.  His shop was attacked three times during the past month and he suffered losses totalling thousands of rands. The last straw was on Thursday last week, when he was attacked by an unknown number of assailants, who shot at him and his colleagues before petrol bombing them.

His two other friends were lucky, but he was badly burnt and his car was totally gutted during the attack. His fellow countrymen believe all the attacks are related and that it is jealousy by local businesspeople who fear competition.

Oman Abdi (24), a friend of the victim, who also assisted the injured Muhuyadin, said he was driving from his friend when he came across his friends who were running in the direction of their shop. "I immediately recognized them, and I realised that they had severe burns. I did not wait for an ambulance but took them straight to hospital," he said.

Abdi said the situation was shocking. "I have never seen such cruelty; seeing my friends so badly burnt is the worst experience ever. I will never forget what happened.  We are just making an honest living here and we do not see any reason why we should be driven out of the village," said Abdi.
Shop owner Mr Omar Muhuyandin, who was nearly killed, is recuperating at a hospital in Polokwane.

Mr Mahamud Serar, one of the victims of the attack, said they were on their way home in Thohoyandou when they were ambushed by the assailants. "Out of nowhere, the attackers just appeared and shot at us, throwing petrol bombs in our car without uttering anything. It seems the attack was well planned as they knew even the car we were travelling in," said Serar.

He said they were worried as Somalians that many had been targeted by thugs. "We are trying to make an honest living by opening small shops, but now we are being attacked as if we have too much money. It really hurts. To add salt to injury, no suspects are arrested for these attacks and even the police seem not to take us seriously; it is just a waste of time to report cases," he said.

Thoyandou police spokesman Major Mashudu Malelo said they did not have records of the attack. "We do not know about this case. This could be as a result of the fact that the complainant is still in hospital. We urge them to report the case and we will take it from there," said Malelo.


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