Somalia on Thursday called on the South African government to protect its citizens in the country as a wave of attacks targets foreigners and their businesses.
Seven people have been killed and dozens of shops destroyed in xenophobic violence in and around Johannesburg this week – a recurring trend that has often targeted Somalis.
“The Somali government is keeping an eye on the violence in South Africa where members of the Somali community, mainly traders, have been attacked and suffered both death and injury in recent years,” read a statement from the information ministry.
“The Somali government is deeply concerned about the looting and eviction of its citizens and their businesses and requests the South African government protect and guarantee the safety of the Somali citizens and their property.”
Immigrants from Nigeria as well as Somalia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and South Asia flock to work in South Africa, one of the continent’s premier economies.
But South Africa has seen waves of xenophobic violence as foreigners are accused of taking jobs away from South Africans, against the backdrop of increasing poverty and unemployment.
In 2008, xenophobic violence left 62 people dead, while in 2015, seven were killed in attacks in Johannesburg and Durban.