Somalia condemns killing of 4 nationals in South Africa’s unrest

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Police officers detain demonstrators during protests following the imprisonment of former South Africa President Jacob Zuma, in Katlehong, South Africa, July 12, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The Somali government has condemned the killing of four of its nationals as violent protests and looting escalated in South Africa.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said several other Somalis were injured and their shops looted by armed thugs in separate areas of KwaZulu-Natal province in the past three days.

“Somalia calls on the South African government to exert all its efforts to protect Somali nationals from brutal acts, to ensure the safety of their lives, their shops and the preservation of their rights,” the ministry said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.

The ministry said Somalia was proud of its historical relations with the people of South Africa during their struggle against apartheid, noting the extent of the multiple political, economic and strategic support South Africa provided to Somalia over a period of time.

Shops across the KwaZulu-Natal province have been hit by rampant looting during protests in the last few days. The protests organized under the guise of the FreeZuma campaign, which is calling for people to take to the streets in support of former president Jacob Zuma who was jailed for 15 months for contempt of court, have seen people ransack stores for food, clothing, electronics, and general goods.

The former president was sentenced in June for defying a Constitutional Court order to give evidence at an inquiry investigating corruption during his nine years in office until 2018.

Television footage and videos shared on social media show rioters making off with big-screen TVs and stripping cars at a vehicle dealership of their engines and wheels.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday evening that some 489 suspects in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces had been arrested and all government agencies had been mobilized.

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