So­mali gangs’ bat­tles spill over into streets

Fa­tal shoot­ing of Sal­lah out­side shop in Port Eliz­a­beth brings to light seedy un­der­world of in­ter­nal skir­mishes

Daily Dispatch - - News - BONGANI FUZILE

South African com­mu­ni­ties where peo­ple live and trade are be­ing af­fected by So­mali gangs in­volved in skir­mishes within their own com­mu­nity.

So­mali Board of South Africa gen­eral sec­re­tary Ab­d­i­rizak Ali Os­man, warned that his or­gan­i­sa­tion was aware of gangs op­er­at­ing in their com­mu­nity, with a num­ber of peo­ple al­ready be­ing killed as a re­sult.

This fol­lows a shootout in a busy Dur­ban Road in Korsten, Port Eliz­a­beth, a pop­u­lar spot for com­mer­cial and non-com­mer­cial traders, where a young So­mali man was shot and killed af­ter an ar­gu­ment, spark­ing fears of ret­ri­bu­tion.

CCTV footage ob­tained by Times Se­lect shows about five peo­ple shoot­ing at one an­other.

Mo­hammed Sal­lah, 25, was fa­tally wounded in the in­ci­dent.

The at­tack on Sal­lah, which hap­pened just af­ter 6pm on Oc­to­ber 27, was cap­tured by shops’ CCTV cam­eras that shows a man fir­ing into the air. Three oth­ers then emerge from the shop to re­tal­i­ate.

PE po­lice spokesper­son Colonel Priscilla Naidu con­firmed the shoot­ing, say­ing no ar­rest had been made.

Os­man said sim­i­lar in­ci­dents were hap­pen­ing fre­quently in Cape Town and Gaut­eng, and has now spilled over to PE.

This has prompted in­ter­ven­tion by the board.

An in­sider at the So­mali United Com­mu­nity of South Africa, said the rea­son that So­ma­lis were at­tack­ing and killing one an­other was widely un­re­ported be­cause it in­volved the pay­ing of blood money.

“Back home in So­ma­lia, if you kill some­one you pay what is called com­pen­sa­tion; we call it ‘blood money’.”

“And when one is killed, they don’t re­port that to the au­thor­i­ties. In­stead, they meet to dis­cuss com­pen­sa­tion and if the fam­ily agrees, the money is paid to the griev­ing fam­ily,” the man said.

“The prob­lem is our elders are still us­ing that sys­tem. In the area of Port Eliz­a­beth we’ve lost about five or six So­ma­lis who have been killed by their fel­low-coun­try­men.

“This is rarely re­ported to the po­lice. The other killings are armed rob­beries in the pe­riod of 2015 and 2018, which have made this num­bers go up,” said the source.

“This blood money is a tra­di­tion we are used to and in this com­mu­nity they are killing each other freely as they know that they will pay and it will go no fur­ther. But this is an­other coun­try; laws are dif­fer­ent,” an­other trader in PE, John Ab­du­laye said.

He said the two prom­i­nent gangs were called Ra­han­wayn and Ma­ree­han.

“When th­ese two gangs clash, blood flows and fam­i­lies are left with­out their bread­win­ners.”

This was con­firmed by other So­mali res­i­dents in PE.

Busi­ness­man and spaza shop owner, Mo­hamed Nur, claims about 20 peo­ple have been killed in two years since 2016 in PE.

“The So­mali peo­ple are fight­ing each other; we are fight­ing in a for­eign coun­try. Since early 2016 to date about 20 peo­ple have died. Go to Mal­abar ceme­tery, you will find many So­ma­lis buried there.”

Os­man said they held a con­fer­ence two months ago where a num­ber of is­sues, in­clud­ing gang­ster­ism, were dis­cussed.

“A meet­ing with the com­mu­nity elders was held and a num­ber of is­sues were dis­cussed and we are work­ing with po­lice au­thor­i­ties to re­solves th­ese is­sues. We can say now that the prob­lem is not as bad as be­fore,” Nur said.

He would not go into the de­tails of the dis­cus­sions. “We do­ing best to work with com­mu­ni­ties in re­solv­ing th­ese prob­lems we are fac­ing.”

How­ever, Naidu could not con­firm other sim­i­lar mur­ders in PE ex­cept to say: “Sal­lah was shot sev­eral times by the three sus­pects who fled the scene. The rea­son for the ar­gu­ment and fa­tal shoot­ing is un­known at this stage and he suc­cumbed to his in­juries in hospi­tal. The sus­pect is known and an ar­rest is im­mi­nent.” – Times Se­lect

The So­mali peo­ple are fight­ing each other; we are fight­ing in a for­eign coun­try. Since early 2016 about 20 peo­ple have died

Pic­ture: SUPPLIED

GUNNED DOWN: Mo­hammed Sal­lah, 25, is the lat­est vic­tim of in­ter­nal fight­ing among So­ma­lis.

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