Somalis in Nelson Mandela Bay under siege

Protests after four foreign shop owners shot dead amid protection racket war

15 February 2021 - 11:00 By zamandulo malonde
Somali nationals picket outside the New Brighton police station after several spaza shop owners were shot dead.
Somali nationals picket outside the New Brighton police station after several spaza shop owners were shot dead.
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Ruthlessly exploited by a protection racket that has already seen four Somalis killed and a fifth critically injured this past week, these men and women feel stuck: if they return home they risk being killed, and if they stay in SA their futures look grim.    

Under siege is how they have described their lives as spaza shop owners in Nelson Mandela Bay’s townships.

“He might have been a nobody, but to his family he was a breadwinner,” were the desperate words of one victim’s devastated uncle.

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