Somalia’s president says he “wants answers” from South Africa after the brutal murder of a Somali man in Port Elizabeth, Al Jazeera has learned.
The Somali man, 25-year-old Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good, was stoned to death on May 30 by a mob. The violence was captured on a mobile phone and shared on the internet.
Sheik Mohammed, Somalia’s president, called on his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to “act immediately” to arrest those responsible.
Kamal Gutale, chief of staff in the Somali presidency, told Al Jazeera on Monday: “The president has asked Mr Zuma and his foreign minister to look into the matter and investigate the brutal killing and violence.”
The murder is the latest in a number of attacks on Somali immigrants in South Africa. Police are investigating the death but no one has been arrested.
The Somali presidency said the issue was raised on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Tokyo on Sunday, after the Somali community was hit by a series of attacks in South Africa over the last week.
The graphic footage shows the bare-chested Good lying in the middle of a street while a mob pelts him with rocks and boulders as pedestrians and vehicles pass by.
Local media said Good was attacked while trying to protect his shop from looters. He was also stabbed in the violence.
The Somali community in South Africa, which numbers a few hundred thousand, reacted with outrage.
The Somali Association of South Africa (SASA) told Al Jazeera that at least five other Somalis have been injured and about 40 shops have been looted in the four provinces across the country.
"At the time, President Zuma was not aware of the incident and expressed surprise," Gutale said.
The South African president promised to look into the matter, he said.
But SASA said that the South African government has repeatedly failed to act on this and previous attacks on foreigners.
"This is not the first time; this is happening over and over again. The South African government is not taking action, the community is angry and every time this happens, nothing is ever done," said SASA spokesman Ismaeel Abdi Adan.
The South African presidency was unavailable to comment.
The African Centre for Migration and Society at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, said in a report released in 2012 that Somali-run businesses suffered disproportionately from crime, including attacks by competing South African traders.
*The South African government has said that previous violence against foreigners was a result of criminality and not xenophobia.
In 2008, more than 50 foreign African nationals were killed in a spate of violence against foreign nationals across the country.
*Xenophobia is not the root cause for these criminal acts? Is that what the South African government is saying? Because I’m pretty sure the experiences of various non-South African African nationals living in South Africa, exposed to attitudes that are clearly xenophobic in nature, would counteract that statement. Unless I am misunderstanding the bolded statement, I don’t see this continued violence as simply an act of unlawful outbursts.
These heinous and disgustingly violent xenophobic attacks continue to happen and sometimes, one feels as though both the local media and the South African public have become somewhat blase about these incidents as they happen with very little expressed outrage from South Africans, at least in my experience. No substantial and progressive dialogue is initiated by the media about the roots, history and current factors that continue to fuel xenophobia in the country, that would both address these attitudes head-on and ensure that a critical consciousness about xenophobia is maintained in the psyche of the public.
The fact that African nationals who come from countries outside of South Africa are still viewed in a manner that brings about such acts is a very serious matter that needs to be addressed with depth and caution, something the government does a very good job of not doing. Xenophobia also needs to be combated with the help of African leaders and their ambassadors/embassies based in South Africa who should both warn and provide assistance for their citizens emigrating to and currently living in South Africa who may be the victims of xenophobia but do not feel safe reporting these issues to local authorities.