Armed gangs have shot dead two Somali businessmen in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, as the situation for Somalis is deteriorating in the country.
The two businessmen were shot on Tuesday evening in their own shops. Gunmen managed to flee from the scene before the police arrived for investigations.
In the past two decades, many thousands of Somalis have fled conflict at home and moved to South Africa, where many have opened small shops and kiosks in townships.
But Since last year, more than 2,000 Somalis living in South Africa have returned home after most of the country regions became more stable following the driving out of al-Shabaab militants by the AU and Somali national army.
Xenophobia plays a role in the violence against Somalis. But criminals also know that because of bureaucratic hurdles, it is difficult for refugees to open bank accounts. Robbers are so likely to find cash in Somali-owned stores that humanitarians say they have been nicknamed the community “ATMs” (automated bank-teller machines).
The authorities have dismissed reports of xenophobia, saying the attacks are due to business rivalry.
Somalia government has on several occasions requested the South African authorities to do more to protect Somali nationals.