Thursday February 18, 2021
Somali nationals picket outside the New Brighton police station. File photo Image: EUGENE COETZEE
Eastern Cape police top brass have met with the ambassador of Somalia to discuss the fatal shooting of four businessmen and injury of a fifth across townships in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Police on Wednesday attributed the killings to robberies but concerns have been raised about businessowners being targeted by thugs running an extortion racket.
Ambassador Mohammed Ali Mire met with provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, Nelson Mandela Bay district senior management and executive mayor Nqaba Bhanga on Tuesday.
“The ambassador together with community leaders highlighted three major concerns, namely vehicle hijackings, robberies and murders, emanating from the robberies,” said police spokesperson Col Priscilla Naidu.
“Allegations about protection fees were also brought to the attention of the municipality and the police.”
HeraldLIVE reported on Monday that Somali spaza shop owners felt under siege in townships after four shop owners were gunned down in similar fashion after allegedly refusing to pay protection fees.
Affected members of the community led a delegation to a local police station while carrying placards which read “Stop killing us fellow Africans.”
On Wednesday Naidu said the motive for the four killings, all in the space of a week, was robbery.
Ntshinga said the Somali community was not being singled out by criminals. He said criminals were targeting the vulnerable and urged people not to carry large sums of cash.
“We appeal to them to avoid being targeted. They should use electronic banking. We need to work together as a collective to find solutions that will address the safety of all businessmen, while at the same time every effort must be made to combat the violence associated with this,” said Ntshinga.
The parties agreed to work together and adhere to municipal bylaws and the laws of the country.
Ntshinga said: “Criminals thrive in communities where their actions are tolerated. Together let us stamp out crime wherever it resides. Let us isolate those who commit serious and violent crimes and work with law enforcement to have them arrested without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people.”