Sabahi (Washington, DC)

South Africa: Shirdon Calls On South Africa to Protect Somali Nationals

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon has expressed concern for the safety of Somalis in South Africa, calling on the government there to intervene to stop violence against Somali people after deadly attacks in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth last week.

"I appeal to the government of South Africa as a matter of urgency to intervene and contain this unnecessary and unfortunate violence against Somali business communities to preserve peace and stability, thereby further strengthening and promoting brotherly relations between our two peoples and governments," Shirdon said in a letter to South African President Jacob Zuma Monday (June 3rd).

The prime minister's comments come after a string of attacks against Somali businesses in South Africa over the past week, including a brutal attack against 25-year-old Abdi Nasir Mahmoud.

Mahmoud was stoned to death by a mob in Port Elizabeth on May 30th, and a mobile phone video of the attack was recently released on the internet. Police are investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made.

Shirdon expressed his condolences to the families of the victims who were killed, wounded or lost their properties during recent violence in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth.

"On the other hand, I also call for all the Somalis in South Africa to respect and adhere rigidly to the local laws and customs, work with the Somali Embassy in Pretoria, maintain calmness, knowing that my government will vigorously work with the South African government to address these recurring problems," the prime minister said. "Our thoughts are with those Somalis who have suffered at this time of sadness."

Somalia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Tuesday that it was sending a delegation to South Africa in an effort to resolve the security crisis affecting the Somali community.

Permanent Secretary in Foreign Affairs Ministry Abdisalam Haji Ahmed Liban condemned the attacks against Somali nationals and expressed regret over the gruesome manner in which Mahmoud was killed.

In a statement to the press Liban called on the South African government to protect Somalis and hasten arrests against the perpetrators.

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