All Somali shops in Booysen Park looted

Cape Town - All the Somali-owned shops in Port Elizabeth’s Booysen Park have been burned or looted and owners have evacuated the area, police say.

"All remaining Somali shop-owners have packed up and left the Booysen Park area," police spokesperson Stanley Jarvis told News24. "Police are in control of the situation, but sporadic incidents are ongoing."

The conflict, which has raged for three days, has seen residents petrol-bombing police vehicles and targeting Somali-owned shops.

Gangs

Brigadier Marinda Mills said the unrest started with the community being upset about the presence of gangs in the area, wanting to drive them out.

When this was unsuccessful, the protesters turned on police and Somali shops.

“We do not know if protesters are unhappy about the police or gangsters or Somali shop-owners,” she told News24.

More than 11 people have been arrested.

According to Mills, Booysen Park does not have a history of xenophobic attacks and the motive for the attacks is being investigated.

In a separate incident, a Somali national was shot several times and eventually died in hospital.

“The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage, but SAPS is certain that the incident is not related to the protests in the Port Elizabeth northern areas,” Mills said.

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